Employers in the UK have a legal responsibility to do a right to work check on every employee. But managing the evolving guidelines on how these checks are done can be tricky for recruiters as the UK government works to balance making the system simple, while actively tackling illegal immigration. If employers fail to observe the new guidelines, or if their policy is non-compliant, they can face severe penalties, warns Mark O’Hara.


What is changing?

On the 30th September, the adjusted right to work checks that the Home Office introduced during the pandemic will cease. Currently the Home Office allows employers to check British and Irish nationals right to work via a manual check or by checking scanned documents. After 30th September, the requirements change for British and Irish nationals and there will be two ways to conduct right to work checks:

– Manually – obtaining, checking, and maintaining the documents securely after verifying them in person with the candidate.

– Digitally – by appointing an IDSP (Digital Identity Service Provider). The IDSP can use IDVT (Identification Document Verification Technology) to check the passport of British or Irish nationals, or an Irish Passport Card, on behalf of their employers.


Benefits of digital right to work checks

Using an IDSP lessens the time spent to obtain, reduces the resources used to check, and finds a way to securely retain a person’s documents compared to manual checks. You can receive, verify, and store valid passports and additional documents from anyone, anywhere when using an IDSP. This new way of conducting digital right to work checks will allow businesses to transform their employee onboarding process to help them keep pace with increasing digitalisation and meet the demands of our new world.

It can be daunting when legislation changes, particularly when it comes to sharing sensitive personal data. While employers will face severe consequences if compliance standards are not met, there are things they can do to ensure they reap the benefits of a digital process while mitigating potential risks.


Review your policy

To make the most of the reduced operational costs and increased efficiency IDVT offers, businesses should familiarise themselves with their current right to work policy now and make any changes required to begin carrying out the necessary checks digitally from day one.


Ensure compliance

Digital right to work checks on employees can help businesses reduce fraud risks by trusting technology providers to meet the standards introduced by the Department for the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport’s (DCMS) digital identity and attributes trust framework. To ensure maximum protection for both the economy, business and its employees, it is advised that businesses choosing a right to work checking technology, contract with an IDSP that can guarantee all scheme guidance and standards laid out in the trust framework are met.


Security of the data

A manual process to conduct official right to work checks is not always efficient or secure. When trying to process a large volume of documents quickly, companies increase the risk of identity fraud and data breaches. Also, when hiring candidates overseas, it can be impossible to verify them in-person in a timely manner.

Sophisticated identity verification solutions, for example, use ISO 27001 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliant technology to provide multi-layered checks in real-time, alongside an address verification feature that checks a potential candidate’s identity against existing local bureaus and registers. This not only improves the accuracy and efficiency of the checks, but also better protects the user’s data.


Protect your business

Finally, IDSPs also grant a greater level of protection for businesses by providing a statutory excuse. That is, a protection that the employer can use as a defence against a civil penalty in the event of the necessary checks not being completed to the required standard.

Overall, the ability to carry out right to work checks with IDVT technology will be transformative to businesses. Eradicating time-consuming manual checks is advantageous to both the business and the prospective employee. It will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and automate compliance with the new legislation and data security rules. Companies are therefore highly recommended to seek compliant IDSPs to securely carry out right to work checks. 1st October is fast approaching, and those firms left unprepared are more vulnerable to increased compliance and onboarding costs as well as missing hiring candidates quickly.