The UK Government’s right to work guidelines asking businesses to use digital ID to check applicants can legally work in the UK came into force on 1st October 2022. Under the new government guidance, employers can choose between 16 certified identity service providers to digitally check their applicants or employees legal right to work.
What are right to work checks?
All UK Employers have a legal responsibility to check the immigration status of successful job applicants. These right to work checks form an important part of hiring new staff into any business in the UK.
Digital right to work checks were introduced to enable businesses to continue hiring when face-to-face checks were not possible due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This allowed applicants to send ID documents to employers using email, video call and apps.
What are the changes to digital verification checks?
The changes were introduced in April 2022 to make the digital verification process more secure. And from 1 October 2022, UK businesses wishing to carry out digital checks must:
- use identity service providers (IDSPs)
- keep digital records for two years after an employee exits your business
Many businesses have moved to remote and hybrid working, so the option for secure, digital right to work checks is designed to help make the recruitment process more efficient.
These changes apply to British and Irish citizens. For applicants that can’t show their documents or immigration status online, you should use the Home Office’s right to work checking service.
Is every business affected?
These changes are for businesses who wish to continue undertaking digital checks as part of their onboarding process. If done in person, this is not a requirement.
These changes mean that employers won’t be allowed to verify ID documents using methods like email or video call after 30 September 2022. For the avoidance of doubt, employers cannot ask applicants or employees to scan and send copies of their passports and via email or other means, this will not be acceptable or sufficient to fulfil their obligation for checking right to work status.
Not complying with the new legislation could result in a £20,000 fine or being banned from sponsoring visas for foreign nationals in the future, if applicable.
How to check an applicant’s right to work
Right to work checks can be done in three ways:
- checking the applicant’s original documents (in person)
- using Identity Verification Technology (IDVT) with an IDSP
- a Home Office online right to work check
To get a detailed view on the checks, please read the government’s guide on how to check a job applicant’s right to work in person and digitally.
Do I need a certified Identity Service Provider?
In-person right to work checks are unaffected by these changes; however, if you are using the digital verification route, you must use an IDSP to verify an applicant’s right to work. While it’s recommended that you use a government-certified IDSP, it’s not mandatory if you’re satisfied your provider is completing the right level of checks.
Here’s what the government says: “Whilst it will not be mandatory for employers and landlords to use a certified IDSP for the purposes of right to work and right to rent checks, the Home Office recommends employers and landlords use a certified IDSP”.
Are you looking for support or guidance on conducting right to work checks for your employees? We can help. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org