Knowledge is Power

No more remote ID checks

The government responded to the pandemic by making several legislative changes which allowed employers and agencies to continue to hire throughout lockdown and despite other covid restrictions. Some of these emergency measures are now ending. One of them, carrying out Right to Work checks remotely, officially ends at the end of September. But what does this mean for employers and agencies, and how can we get prepared?

Remote ID checks, back to a new normal?

ID checks, and their administrative twin, Right to Work checks, have long been a crucial part of onboarding new employees and candidates. Designed to prevent illegal working, firstly it needs to be confirmed that someone is indeed who they say they are, and secondly, that they have the right to work in the UK.

How are Right to Work checks carried out?

Determining an individual’s Right to Work involves checking the validity of their identification documents (usually passport and/or immigration documents), and checking they are who they say they are. These same documents are also used to check whether someone has the Right to Work in the UK. Failing to carry out Right to Work checks properly on employees who are later found to be working illegally, can carry a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker. When an employer has done their due diligence in the form of the correct checks, they protect themselves from civil action by ‘establishing a statutory excuse against liability for a penalty. This is why employers and agencies are keen to get things right.

How did the pandemic change Right to Work checks?

With the covid pandemic limiting face to face contact, and to facilitate remote working, the government implemented emergency measures which allowed for identification and visa documents to be checked by employers remotely. This meant that checks could be carried out over video calls and using scanned or photographed documents, rather than originals. In April 2022, the Home Office also introduced new digital right to work checks using Identification Documentation Validation Technology (IDVT). This could be accessed through the Home Office website, or through a certified digital identity service provider (IDSP). In the meantime, full remote checking was extended until the end of September.

What’s changing with remote Right to Work checks?

The measures allowing employers to carry out checks over video, or with scanned documentation are ending, and as of 1st October 2022, employers will have to ensure that Right to Work checks are carried out in one of three ways:
  • A manual, in person Right to Work check of physical documents
  • Using the Home Office online checking service
  • Using an accredited identity checking service provider (IDSP)

    The method that an employer can choose will depend largely on the candidate’s immigration status and what documentation is available. For those with biometric documents (including Biometric Residence Cards and Frontier Worker Permits), digital status or E-Visa, or who have received their visas using the UK immigration ID check app, the check must be carried out online using the Home Office online checking service in combination with a face-to-face check. For those not eligible for online checks, such as British and Irish passport holders, or those with a physical visa (passport vignette), the check must be carried out via an ISDP and a manual check of original documents.

    What can we expect in the future?

    The pandemic has forced a huge rethink of the way we all work, and in all industries and sectors. The move towards remote ID checks and the implementation of IDVT means that the Home Office is becoming even more well placed to completely digitise immigration and identity checking processes. This could mean faster and more efficient procedures, which would be welcomed by businesses who want speedier recruiting. Ship Shape will keep our clients and contractors informed about any changes in legislation which might affect you. If you have any questions at all regarding digital Right To Work checks, or anything else, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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