Changes to Right to Work checks: What employers need to know

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Employers in the UK have a legal responsibility to check a potential employee’s right to work before offering them a job. They must complete a Right to Work (RTW) check to prevent illegal working in the UK otherwise they face severe penalties for failure to complete these checks or for employing people illegally.

The UK Government announced that employers will be able to use certified digital identity service providers (IDSPs) to complete the identity verifications required for Right to Work checks. The changes to the legislation will take effect from September 30th 2022.

How do employers conduct a Right to Work check now?

Workers generate a share code to give an employer showing online confirmation of their immigration status. Alternatively, specified documents can be checked.

Here are some example of how employees currently prove their right to work for example:

If you’re a British or Irish citizen

Show your employer your valid British or Irish passport, or Irish Passport Card.

If you don’t have a British or Irish passport, you can use a valid passport from another country. The passport must have a stamp or sticker on it saying you have right of abode.

If you don’t have a valid passport

You’ll need to show your employer 2 different documents instead.

You should show one document with your name and National Insurance number on it – this must be from the government or your previous employer. For example, you could show a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or a tax document like a P45.

The second document you should show is either your:

  • birth or adoption certificate, if it’s from a court or register office in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or Ireland

  • certificate of registration or naturalisation, if you became a British citizen by applying for it

ID-Pal is an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) with the required technology for Right to Work checks ready to go, out-of-the-box.

What is changing in how to show your Right to Work ?

The Home Office announced that 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 or an Irish Passport Card.

The introduction of IDVT by the Government means verification of the right to work will be allowed to be carried out digitally. IDSPs will use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to:

  • confirm a prospective employee’s identity
  • check their ID is valid or authenticated the ID being submitted
  • confirm that the document belongs to the employee which verifies their identity

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 as introduced during the pandemic.

While using an IDSP is not mandatory, it is recommended by the Home Office as it will ensure that all scheme guidance and standards laid out in the trust framework are met. It will also reduce the risk that employers face as the identity verification process is more robust and secure.

Holders of a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), or a Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) can only prove their right to work by using the Home Office’s online service. To use this service, employers will need

  • the job applicant’s date of birth
  • their right to work share code


How IDVT helps employers with Right to Work checks

With increased remote and hybrid working, the Government hopes that using IDVT for right to work checks will support safer recruitment and onboarding, introduce consistent and more secure verification methods and reduce risk for businesses.

This technology for digital checks will be essential to help businesses to comply with Government regulations to fight against fraud and ensure that all identity checks, whether face to face or not, are carried out with the appropriate level of confidence.

Why UK businesses need IDVT for Right to Work Checks

The major issue that IDVT helps guard against is the use of fake work permits or other documents. Businesses need to be constantly aware of the new and different types of fake identity documents across different businesses and industries.

Research on “nationality fraud” shows that in 2021,  fake ID documents came from 70 different fake nationalities, an increase of 18 over 2020. France is the most popular “fake nationality” for fraudsters but the UK has leapt from fifth place to second. British documents made up just 4% of fake identity documents in 2019 but this grew to 12% in 2021.

This is why the UK Government is introducing these regulations to help companies ensure they are meeting all their legal responsibilities to make sure a person has the right to work in the UK. The UK Government’s website warns employers:

“You could face a civil penalty if you employ an illegal worker and have not carried out a correct right to work check.” it also adds: “You must not discriminate against anyone because of where they’re from.”

How can employers prepare for Right to Work changes in 2022?

Here are key ways to prepare:

  • update the policies your business has relating to carrying out right to work checks;
  • provide relevant HR staff with training so everyone understands how to use the online checking service for right to work checks
  • research, identify and partner with a certified IDSP to improve the security and compliance of your Right to Work checks

As an Identity Service Provider (IDSP), ID-Pal has the necessary technologies in place to deliver robust Identity Verification checks required for Right to Work checks.  We have therefore started the process to achieve the required accreditation to be able to meet the Right to Work and DBS Standards so that we can help employers across the UK combat fraud after September 30th.

This article is for informational use only. ID-Pal advises all businesses to conduct full research into their specific legal duties and obligations relevant to their company and needs.

Contact us today for a live demo of how the ID-Pal service can be easily integrated with your business.

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