Setting the Record Straight on Digital Right to Work Checks

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As employers and recruiters in the UK are aware, the rules regarding digital Right to Work checks are about to change. From October 1st, the temporary allowances to carry out checks via video chat with scanned documents or through the use of apps will end, and new guidelines will be introduced.

These temporary permissions were essential in the Covid-19 pandemic to allow businesses to continue hiring the right people remotely, at a time when in-person contact was strictly limited. However, research shows Covid-19 made fraud and compliance a bigger issue. It’s clear that a more robust method needed to be implemented.

Unfortunately, as the world returned to a type of post-pandemic normality, these changes to guidelines on how to conduct digital Right to Work checks have led to a spread of misinformation on what to do. At a critical time for employers and recruiters to get to grips with the guideline updates and to adjust their processes accordingly, either false or misleading information is out there. Now is the time to set the record straight.

Right to Work: What is really changing?

From October 1st the new digital option of carrying out Right to Work checks will be launched. These new guidelines allow employers to appoint digital IDSPs to carry out digital checks.

All businesses planning to use digital Right to Work checks, whether that is for temporary or permanent workers, need to comply. However, it is important to note that the changes only apply for those using digital Right to Work checks.

By uploading personal documents via an IDSP, employees can verify their identity remotely, reducing the time and risk for employers or hiring managers manually conducting Right to Work checks. The benefits are vast, but arguably the most important will be the level of data protection and security given to both employers and employees when processing identity documents, alongside a superior candidate experience. The use of technology to verify the authenticity of identity documents also provides far greater fraud detection then an individual with basic identity document verification training.

The Home Office recommends using a certified IDSP to carry out these checks, but it is not mandatory. There are a large range of businesses which are still going through the certification process in line with the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework and employers can use these if preferred. No matter the option a business chooses, it is important to assess that the IDSP has the proper data safety accreditations, including IS0 20071 and GDPR compliance. For more information on what to look for, we outline the benefits of adopting an identity verification solution for digital Right to Work checks here.

Crucially, even when using an IDSP to digitally verify the identity of an employee in seconds, employers still need to perform one further step to check this is correct. This can be done in person on their first day or before, or via a video interview to match the IDSP result against the person they have employed.

If all processes are completed properly, using an IDSP proves a statutory excuse against civil penalties should a candidate be hired but actually not have a right to work in the UK.

What is staying the same?

For many businesses, this new, robust process to verify an employee’s identity digitally will bring huge benefits in terms of efficiency for both the business and the employee. But again, it is not mandatory for checks to be carried out in this way. The historical way to verifying an employee’s identity in-person is still perfectly legitimate.

The Online Checking Service (OCS) remains the same for non-British or non-Irish citizens with in date visas. People in this category must continue to use this service.

It is also important to note that British or Irish citizens without an in-date British or Irish passport or an Irish Passport card cannot use an IDSP to verify their identity, and must be verified using traditional methods of in-person checks.


If you’re interested in finding out more about how ID-Pal is supporting businesses in complying with the updated digital Right to Work guidelines, or if you just want to discuss the changes to understand how your business will be affected, contact or reach out to the team at for accurate advice on how to conduct digital right to work checks.


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