The process of checking an individual’s legal right to work (“LRTW”) in the UK has evolved significantly over the past few years in response to technological advances, changes in format of visa status and, significantly, the increased focus on flexible working practices and remote working.
In April 2022, the Covid-19 concessions to right to work guidance – introduced by the Home Office to allow employers to conduct these checks remotely – will come to an end. Instead of the anticipated return to manual LRTW checks for new recruits, including British and Irish Citizens, the Home Office has announced the introduction of a new scheme, harnessing Identity Document Validation Technology (“IDVT”), which will be used to conduct various types of ID checks, including LRTW checks.
The new scheme will enable employers and landlords to use certified IDVT service providers to carry out digital identity checks on their behalf on individuals for whom the current Home Office online services cannot be used, including British and Irish citizens. The relevant changes to legislation will take effect from 6 April 2022.
For employers, the introduction of digital identity checking will mean they can verify prospective employees’ identities, using consistent and secure methods, whilst reducing risk of exposure to fraudulent activity. Importantly, the scheme will allow a wider pool of new recruits to have their identity checked remotely. This will speed up the LRTW process and free-up onboarding resources.
There are drawbacks, however. The introduction of private organisations to the right to work check process may be a more efficient and secure method with which to conduct these checks but will inevitably carry a cost. Employers may see an exponential increase in the cost of compliance.
A UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework is expected to be published in the coming weeks, enabling private organisations to apply for certification by an approved certification body. Further information on this new process is expected shortly before the roll-out in April.