Right to work checks are changing

On the 1st October 2022, there are some crucial changes to the UK’s Right to Work legislation that will become law. Every business, no matter how big or small they are, needs to check that every person they employ has the right to work in the UK. Failing to conduct the correct right to work checks can not only land you in hot water with the Home Office, businesses can incur fines of up to £20,000, damage their reputation, or in serious cases, even face jail time if they are found to employ people illegally.

Conducting a check may sound easy, but with over 200 combinations of differing documents and changes to legislation, it is now even easier to get them wrong.

So what are the changes?

In April 2018, the Home Office launched its online Right to Work Checking Service. This enables employers to conduct online right-to-work checks on individuals with EU, EEA, or Swiss immigration status who provide a valid share code.

All other right-to-work checks, however, had to be done in person, including for UK and Irish nationals.

During the pandemic, employers were unable to conduct Right to Work checks in person due to face-to-face meetings being impossible. To address this and allow employers to continue hiring, the government adjusted the process so that employers could conduct check remotely.

While this was successful, it raised the possibility of fraudulent documents being used.

To mitigate this risk while retaining the benefits of a digital solution, employers will need to complete their Right to Work checks in person beginning October 1, 2022, or put in place appropriate alternative processes and systems with an IDSP.

An IDSP is a certified identification document validation technology service that performs digital identity checks on behalf of an employer for individuals who are not eligible to use the Home Office online services.

An IDSP-provided verification process will remotely validate the applicant’s identity and documents. The verification process will initially only apply to British and Irish citizens. What can businesses do to stay compliant?

1. Carry out a manual check by physically meeting with the employee to check and copy their original documentation

2. All UK businesses must appoint a certified Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) to complete digital Right to Work checks. Manual identity checks will still be permitted for applicants from the UK and Ireland, but checking an applicant’s right to work remotely must be done through an Identity Service Provider

3. The governments Employer Checking Service continues for right to work checks online

4. Records need to be kept for up to two years after an employee leaves the business

5. Employers need to ensure the checks are maintained and remain valid

How do you find a IDSP?

Companies can prepare by engaging with a certified IDSP as soon as possible. You can find the list of government certified providers and their contact details here: Digital identity certification for right to work, right to rent and criminal record checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What if an employee doesn’t have a passport or don’t want to use the IDSP service?

Employers must not subject those who do not have a valid passport or do not want to use an IDSP to prove their identity less favourably. In these circumstances, you must provide individuals with alternative means of proving their right to work and conduct a manual document-based right to work check

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