Digital right-to-work checks – Are you ready?

From 1 October, employers will only be able to hire applicants by meeting them face-to-face or using an approved ID validation technology to check hiring documents as part of a permanent change to the right-to-work legislation.

All employers are required to carry out right-to-work checks on every potential employee to see whether they are allowed to work.

It is recommended that businesses use Government-certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to oversee digital right-to-work.

What is an IDSP?

While not mandatory, an IDSP carries out digital identity on behalf of the employer.

The Government introduced the Right to Work Checking Service in April 2018, which allowed employers to conduct online right-to-work checks on eligible individuals with EU, EEA, or Swiss immigration status.

However, all other right-to-work checks including for UK and Irish nationals had to be carried out in person.

Video technology checks

This became impossible with the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Government introduced a temporary measure using video technology.

This allowed employers to capture an ‘adjusted COVID-19’ check, remotely, using video chat.

Although these changes to digital checks were first introduced on 6 April 2022, it is from October that applicants will no longer be able to send their right-to-work documents to an employer via email to verify they can legally work.

What else needs to be done?

The October change also means businesses must keep records of hiring documents for up to two years after an employee’s exit date.

Digital checks were easy to manipulate, according to the Government, and permanent changes will bring about increased data security, greater protection against fraud and more efficient onboarding.

What if I get it wrong?

You can be penalised if you employ someone who does not have the right to work and you did not do the correct checks, or you did not do them properly and you might have to pay a fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

For help and advice on employment matters, contact our team today.

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