Changes to Right to Work Checks in the UK

Identity Service Providers

By Shannon Power, 28th September 2022

The UK government has announced that there will be new changes to how Right to Work Checks will be conducted. With these new changes, employers can use certified digital Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete the identity verification required for Right to Work checks.

Right to Work (RTW) checks in the UK are an intrinsic part of employment law. Employers in the United Kingdom have a legal responsibility to check all potential employees’ Right to Work before hiring them. These Right to Work checks are essential to prevent illegal working in the UK. Under UK law, the employment of individuals who cannot provide appropriate right-to-work documents is illegal. Those who employ illegal workers face a criminal conviction and/or an incurring fine of up to £20,000 per employee. It is therefore crucial that employers follow the necessary vetting practices.

What is to Change for Right to Work Checks

Right to Work checks were originally conducted face-to-face between possible employees and employers. This would involve said employee providing the employer with documentation proving their right to work. The employer would then in turn make copies of the presented paperwork for their records.

From the 1st October 2022, the Home Office will enable employers and landlords to use certified Identity Service Providers 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. With the government’s introduction of Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT), verification of the Right to Work can be carried out digitally. Employers and landlords are therefore not required to review hard copies of documentation.

Identification Document Validation Technology will be used by IDSPs to:

  • Confirm a prospective employee’s identity
  • Check their ID is valid
  • Confirm that the document belongs to the employee.

The process will involve the individual uploading images of their documents via a certified IDSP to verify their identity remotely and prove their right to work or rent in the UK. Identity Service Providers will conduct the checks themselves on behalf of employers for a set fee. The use of an IDSP is not mandatory, however, it is recommended by Home Office as it ensures all scheme guidance and standards laid out in the trust framework are met. It also reduces employers’ risk as the identity verification process is more secure and robust.

From 6th April 2022, the Right to Work status of all foreign nationals who possess a Biometric Residence Card, Biometric Residence Permit, or Frontier Worker Permit can only be verified using the Home Office’s online service. The standard manual check is no longer permitted for individuals who fall into this category. All that will be needed is the individual’s date of birth and ‘share code’ to verify eligibility via the government’s online check system.

Reason for Changes

IDVT for Right to Work checks will help UK businesses guard against the use of fake work permits or other illegal documents. Businesses need to be aware of new and different types of fake identity documents across different businesses and industries.

Research into Nationality Fraud showed that in 2021, fake identification documentation came from 70 different nationalities alone. France is the most popular nationality used on fake identification, with the UK leaping from 5th to 2nd. British documents originally only made up 4% of counterfeit IDs in 2019 but grew to 12% in 2021.

The government hopes that IDVT for Right to Work checks will support safer recruitment and onboarding, introduce consistent & more secure verification methods, and reduce risks for businesses. This technology is essential to help businesses comply with Government regulations to fight against fraud and ensure that all identity checks, face-to-face or not, carry out with the appropriate level of confidence.

What it Means for Employers

These amendments leave employers with two choices: 1. Return to the manual process, which is more time-consuming and logically challenging OR 2. Changing to digitally checking credentials will have cost implications for future recruitment budgets.

How employers can prepare for the changes:

  • Update your business policies related to carrying out Right to Work checks
  • Provide relevant HR staff with training on how to use the online checking service.
  • Research, identify, and partner with a certified IDSP to improve the security and compliance of your Right to Work checks.

If you have any further questions concerning the changes to the UK’s Right to Work checks, then contact Euro Company Formations today. Call us at +353(0)16461627 or fill out our contact form!