Get Your Right to Work Checks Checked

Ah, 2020. The year everything changed. We worked from a makeshift office trying to hide the fact we were only presentable in the small square on the screen and were wearing old Christmas pyjama bottoms below the lens.

As the world came to a standstill the recruitment market was booming, but it was almost impossible to meet candidates in person to verify their identities. A particular nuisance when it came to ‘right to work’ checks. The government had little choice but to relax the rules, allowing employers to accept scanned documents, photos or video evidence. Perfect for our customer who have long since been able to collect documentation via our Solo Interview feature.   

However, now things are returning to normal, employers need to be prepared for some changes in the laws regarding right to work documentation. From October 1st 2022, right to work checks are changing and if you don’t comply you could be fined a huge £20k, or face being banned from sponsoring visas for future foreign nationals.

For UK/Irish nationals

From 1 October this year, there will only be two options, a manual (in-person) check, or a digital check using a digital identity service provider (IDSP). 

Manual checks - meeting the candidate in person and ensuring that documents are original, untampered with and are a true likeness to the person. These copies should then be signed, dated and retained securely.

Digital (IDSP) - IDSPs will use Identification Document Verification Technology (IDVT) to check the documentation. IDSPs are only able to check valid passports that are not expired. So, if a candidate has an expired passport or is presenting a birth certificate instead, they’ll have to be checked manually.

At the moment there are only a few certified IDSPs on the website, all of which incur a small fee in return for the verification. 

For Non-UK/Irish nationals

Things are a little more simple here as the laws for this were updated in April of this year and seem to be going smoothly. In this case, foreign nationals who have a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit can only be checked online. Employers must receive a share code and date of birth and then confirm this via the Government’s online checking service. Luckily, there are no plans for this to change at the moment. 

Confused? You’re not the only one

Digital Identity Vendor Xydus carried out a survey which demonstrated a small number - ahem, 48% - were totally unprepared for these changes, although 96% of participants were aware they were coming. The same survey showed a majority weren’t aware of the severity of the issue, with 78% being unaware you could be imprisoned if you didn’t comply with the rules. 

Most alarming was that 72% believed driving licenses were acceptable forms of ID (they never have been) and 3% claimed they don’t conduct any checks at all (which is, well, completely illegal).

So, now what?

First off, Odro can and always will be able to be used for document collection. Which we know is a feature many of our customers, and their clients, use on a regular basis. But, if you’re responsible for identity verification, now’s the time to get your ducks in a row to ensure you’re complying with the new rules. If you have a work from anywhere policy (like us), you’ll need an accredited IDSP to carry out your checks. If you’re in the office or have a hybrid policy, you can get them in person - we recommend this route regardless, as a backup, where you can. Most of us are still happy to leave the house every so often! 

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