Recruitment (COVID-19)

Right to Work Checks (COVID-19)


Advice from the Home Office and Immigration Enforcement for employers carrying out right to work checks during the coronavirus pandemic.

Right to work checks have been temporarily adjusted due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This is to make it easier for employers to carry them out.

As of 30 March 2020 the following temporary changes have been made:

  • checks can now be carried out over video calls
  • job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of documents for checks using email or a mobile app, rather than sending originals
  • employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents

Checks continue to be necessary and you must continue to check the prescribed documents listed in right to work checks: an employer’s guide. It remains an offence to knowingly employ anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

Because of COVID-19, some individuals may be unable to evidence their right to work. During this period, you must take extra care to ensure no-one is discriminated against as a job applicant or employee because they are unable to show you their documents. For more information, please see the code of practice for employers: avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.

Further guidance on ‘Conducting a right to work check during the temporary COVID-19 measures’ and what happens ‘After the COVID-19 measures end’ is available here.

Disclosure Scotland Criminal Record Checks (COVID-19)

Disclosure Scotland is making temporary changes to how applications are processed and roles they are processed for.

Disclosure Scotland will prioritise checks for the workers Scotland needs to deal with the coronavirus. They will prioritise roles in the following sectors:

  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Childcare
  • Social work
  • Social care
  • Prisons and justice
  • Early years, primary and secondary

Following Scottish Government guidance, roles supporting the sectors mentioned above are also considered a priority. For example, cleaners and catering staff in schools and hospitals as well as those providing transport etc.

They may prioritise other sectors during the outbreak when needed.

Urgent Applications for Priority Roles

As of Monday 30th March, Disclosure Scotland will no longer be accepting paper applications.

Applications will now be completed digitally by the applicant and submitted by email to, together with photos/scans of their personal identification documents in support of their application.

A countersignatory from the Employee Service Centre will then arrange a suitable date/time to video call the applicant, to confirm their identity in line with the personal identification documents they have submitted. Once confirmed, they will check and email completed applications to a dedicated mailbox at Disclosure Scotland for processing.

Disclosure Scotland will accept an electronic signature from the applicant and countersignatory. Either a typewritten or scanned signature is valid. There is no need to print and sign a form by hand.

  • Disclosure Scotland will process the application through a priority service.
  • Where possible they will email the countersignatory a notification of the outcome, prior to receiving the paper certificate in an expedited timeframe.
  • When this is not possible there will be two other outcomes
    • the countersignatory will not receive any advance notification and will have to wait on the paper certificate which will still be in an expedited timeframe
    • the countersignatory will receive a notification advising that they are unable to prioritise the application at this time and will be unable to give a timescale for completion

If Disclosure Scotland do not send the countersignatory a disclosure, either by email or certificate, please do not assume this is because they are late or have made a mistake. A small number of applications need them to be fully operational to process and that is impossible at this time. At this critical time, they are providing a safeguarding service to ensure the vast majority of applicants can get cleared to help with coronavirus.

Updated on 18th May 2020

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