Right to Work is just an identity check, isn’t it?


The temporary adjusted Right to Work checks, as part of the response to COVID-19, ended on 30th September 2022. So no more checking documents on Teams or Zoom. We all know the changes allow recruiters to conduct Right to work checks face to face, or remotely, however, one year on can employers be confident in relying on an IDSP and identity validation technology to get a legal statutory excuse for their employee?

Legislative changes and the introduction of technology was a long time coming and it has allowed us to start to revolutionise HR processes and react to the market’s needs, but has it meant the industry is sleep walking into a risk, which could impact the future of their business?

What are the future risks to businesses?

On the 15th June 2023, as part of a nationwide operation, the Home Office deployed over 300 immigration officers to conduct a record number of enforcement visits across the UK.

This crackdown on illegal working comes as the government continues to prioritise tackling illegal migration; the first quarter of 2023 alone saw 1,303 enforcement visits, which is a 57% increase on last year, with arrests also doubling. The Director of Enforcement, Compliance and Crime, Eddy Montgomery was quoted as saying “With greater scrutiny and vigilance surrounding illegal working, it is imperative that employers ensure they are conducting Right to Work checks on all employees”.

When a Right to Work check has been carried out correctly, this provides a statutory excuse and protects the employer from penalties should an employee be discovered as working illegally.

Penalties for employing illegal workers can be severe and are increasing!

The Home Office recently announced plans for significant increases to illegal worker civil penalties. The changes will mean that businesses employing a worker without the appropriate right to work will be liable to pay fines starting at £45,000 per worker – up from the £15,000 penalty that currently can be levied for a first breach. Repeat offenders can anticipate fines of £60,000 per illegal worker they employ. The increase is due to take effect from the start of 2024.

What do you need to do?

UK employers should review and, if necessary, update the procedures they have in place to ensure employees have a ‘right to work’ in the UK before more robust sanctions take effect next year. Ask yourself this, are you obtaining a full statutory excuse against civil penalty in line with the Home Office Employers guide?

  • If you are conducting remote RTW checks for a UK National with a valid passport are you then conducting an Imposter Check?
  • Are you confident you are conducting face to face and remote RTW checks in line with legislation and can provide the correct evidence to support that?
  • Would you know what to do to obtain a statutory excuse if the candidate does not have a valid UK Passport, which can be scanned using IDVT?

Simple questions and there are many more challenging ones. – Ask yourself this:

  • Are you obtaining the statutory excuse correctly for all your candidates?
  • Are you giving them the best candidate experience in line with your business expectations?
  • Are you at risk of being fined?

The risk for some is real. Is it time to re-think how you conduct your Right to Work checks?

How can we help?

Incorporating state of the art document validation and facial recognition technology, our Right to Work App not only helps you to conduct compliant right to work checks, but it validates that the documents provided by the candidate are valid and their own.

Clever optical character recognition technology uses the biographical data captured to auto-populate the fields in the right to work app, meaning the majority of checks can be automatically approved, saving yours and your candidates time.

We can help you make the very best decisions around your recruitment processes.

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Learn more about how we can help you with Right to Work Checks.

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