UK Announces Right-to-Work Check Update and Further Easement of Travel Restrictions

March 17, 2022

The UK Home Office has announced new identification document validation technology for right-to-work checks due to take effect from April 6, together with an extension of the COVID-19 temporary right-to-work check measures. In addition, there has been a further easement of travel restrictions for nonvaccinated travelers arriving in the United Kingdom.

Identification Document Validation Technology

The Home Office announced at the end of last year that from April 6, 2022, they will enable employers and landlords to use certified identity service providers (IDSPs) to carry out digital right-to-work or right-to-rent checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens with a valid passport.

The process will involve the individual uploading images of their personal documents via a certified IDSP to verify their identity remotely and prove their right to rent or work in the United Kingdom. Employers and landlords will therefore not be required to review original hardcopy documents. However, the government has confirmed this will be optional and manual checks will continue to be permitted.

Extension of COVID-19 Right-to-Work Check Measures

Further to a previous LawFlash, the Home Office has announced an additional extension to the temporary right-to-work check measures allowing manual right-to-work checks to be conducted by video call, without holding hardcopy documents, until September 30, 2022.

The extension allows employers time to source IDSPs for the new electronic right-to-work check service for British and Irish nationals, via newly permitted and above-mentioned identification document validation technology.

This extension does not affect individuals holding a current biometric residence permit, biometric residence card, status under the EU Settlement Scheme, frontier worker permit, or eVisa. For these individuals, the Home Office’s online right-to-work checking system will become mandatory on April 6, which was covered in a previous LawFlash.

Starting October 1, 2022, employers will need to either conduct an online right-to-work check or electronic right-to-work check using an IDSP or check the employee’s original documents, where permitted.

Looking Ahead

The Home Office confirmed that retrospective checks do not need to be conducted where a compliant COVID-19 temporary adjusted check was carried out between March 30, 2020, and September 30, 2022. Employers will continue to have a defense against a civil penalty if the checks completed during this time were in line with the COVID-19 adjusted guidance.

Updated guidance for employers to use is expected to be published ahead of September 30, 2022.

Update to UK Travel Rules

Currently, nonvaccinated travelers to the United Kingdom are required to take a PCR test on or before day 2 of their arrival. However, travelers are not legally required to quarantine even if the test result is positive or unclear.

From February 28, 2022, the Home Office extended the timeframe allowed for completing a passenger locator form on return to England. Both vaccinated and nonvaccinated travelers must now complete the passenger locator form up to three days before their arrival in England.

However, the Home Office has announced that from March 18, 2022, COVID-19 tests will no longer be required before or after travel to England. The requirement to complete a passenger locator form will also no longer be required. There will also be no quarantine requirements on arrival in England. These rules will apply to both vaccinated and nonvaccinated travelers.


If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Jennifer Connolly
Yvette Allen
Shannon A. Donnelly
Carina Bryk