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27th Sep, 2022

Keith Rosser
Keith Rosser
Job Title
Reed Screening

During the coronavirus pandemic, an ‘adjusted’ right to work checking process was introduced allowing checks to be carried out by video call.

This process has now changed via the Digital Identity Trust Framework, which sets out the government’s new right to work checks rules and vision.

Since 1 October 2022, British and Irish workers can only have their right to work document checked face-to-face or digitally via an Identity Service Provider (IDSP). Video calls are no longer allowed for checking right to work documents for employees.

Only face-to-face checks, digital checks by an IDSP or online checks (for foreign nationals with a visa) conducted on the Home Office website provide a statutory excuse against a negligent illegal working offence. These checks should be completed on or before the first day of work.

It is the responsibility of the employer to complete right to work checks. In the case where a company recruits temporary staff through a recruitment company, the recruiter will be able to carry out the checks on a business’s behalf.

British or Irish passport holders: digital checks via Identity Service Provider (IDSP)

A digital check via IDSP can only be used for those holding an in date British or Irish passport.

Those with a valid passport can have their document checked digitally/remotely by an IDSP and this will provide a statutory excuse.

Expired passports and/or birth or adoption certificates cannot be used for this process and must be checked face-to-face or by post. No other identity documents can be used to determine someone’s right to work.

Employers can choose which IDSP they use, and although the Home Office has produced a certified list of providers, it is not mandatory to use someone from that list.

The cost of the service can vary depending on volume and provider, and should be discussed directly with your provider.

If an employer is unable to conduct checks via IDSP, they should conduct the checks face-to-face. Since 1 October 2022, video document checks must not be used.

The IDSP will then check the employee’s passport and provide a report. This report should include the individual’s image from liveness, the passport image, and an outcome with level of confidence achieved - to provide employers with a statutory excuse and allow them to confirm that the individual who completed the digital check is the same one who will be working for them.

A clear copy of this report must be retained for the duration of employment and for two years after the employment has come to an end.

Keith Rosser

Director, Reed Screening

The time taken to process the information captured as part of the digital right to work verification will vary between IDSPs. Reed’s AssuredID typically completes processing the information captured within 10 seconds of the candidate submitting the final piece of information required.

Naturally, I’m biased, but I believe AssuredID compares very favourably with other providers. As a completely automated, non-templated solution it has extremely fast processing times providing a result before the candidate has closed their browser window. The product is delivered in partnership with OCRLabs, a government-certified IDSP.

As part of the new UK right to work checks, there is a Home Office requirement to ensure the image in the IDSP check matches the person being recruited. This means after the IDSP has completed the check, the employer will need to meet the employee in person or remotely to check they are the same person. At this stage, a video call can be used to do that check.

In general, businesses are likely to use either video call technology, or make the check on the first day when work is done onsite.

It should be noted that IDSP checks are meant to occur prior to anyone starting work at a company. If a retrospective IDSP check is completed and the worker is found to have worked illegally, the employer will need to rely on the checks completed at the time of employment to have a defence.

If an IDSP is found to have given an incorrect decision, the employer will have a defence if it was done correctly and prior to work commencing.

Any virtual right to work checks completed before 1 October 2022, using the Covid-adjusted method of checking via video call, will not need to be redone.

British or Irish employees that cannot be checked digitally need to have their checks done face-to-face or by sending their original documents by post to the employer.

Face-to-face manual checks

Face-to-face checks are still valid, in the same way they were before the Covid pandemic. The big change is that employers can no longer check documents via a video call.

If the new right to work checks cannot be done digitally by an IDSPand the person does not qualify for the online checking service which is reserved for people with e-visas or BRPs, an in-person, face-to face check must be done or the original document sent by post.

Since 1 October 2022, only digital or manual checks are accepted. Video ID checks no longer provide a statutory excuse.

Keith Rosser

Director, Reed Screening

It is recognised that some employers lack the infrastructure to do manual checks or to take copies of documents. Reed Screening have been working with the Home Office and with parliamentarians to influence changes in relation to this.

There is also an issue around employees who are unable to travel to complete face-to-face checks. We have been strong advocates for better solutions to this problem. As it stands, if someone is unable to travel, they can send their original documents in the post to the employer.

The Home Office website cannot be used to check the right to work status of British or Irish employees as its service does not include those with valid UK or Irish passports, or with Irish passport cards.

Overseas workers

There is no change to the current process already in force for checking non-British or Irish workers.

EU workers must provide a share code which can be checked on the government website. This will verify the status of those under the EU Settlement Scheme or EU Skilled Workers.

There is a similar process to be used to check anyone who holds a biometric residence permit card or an e-visa.

While there have been reports of some IDSPs claiming they can perform share code checks on behalf of employers, this is not recommended by the Home Office. The ultimate responsibility for checking the details available through a share code still rests with the employer, unlike the digital verification method through use of identity document validation technology.

A candidate with a valid visa or leave to remain, who has not yet received their biometric residence permit, is able to establish their right to work by providing confirmation of their application with the Home Office or their valid non-UK passport with the entry document/visa in person, alongside a positive verification notice from the Home Office Employer Checking Service.

Find out more about AssuredID, Reed Screening’s fast, reliable government-certified digital right to work platform.