Three people in a job interview sharing documents

Recruiting and retaining the right talent will be key to business recovery and growth

The global talent shortage has created an unprecedented demand for skilled talent. The next few years will be crucial for businesses looking to recruit and retain the right talent.

The talent shortage is a major challenge in its own right. And although the immediate public health threat caused by Covid-19 is now subsiding largely thanks to the vaccine rollout, the social and economic fallout it caused will have a lasting effect.

While many difficulties were shared, some sectors fared worse than others. Hospitality, retail and travel were forced to shut down, while others, like healthcare, were put under immense pressure dealing with the crisis. But tech firms, including e-commerce companies, benefitted from the widespread move to the online world.

As the world changes, talent acquisition and retention strategies are set to play a central part in recovery, resilience and growth for all businesses. Streamlining recruitment processes should therefore be a top priority.

Navigating rapid change and growing complexity

In the UK, employers are facing regular updates to the immigration system and post-Brexit EU recruitment. The pandemic intensified this sense of uncertainty, as the Home Office introduced temporary Covid-19 adjusted rules to pre-employment checks that facilitated the wider trend of remote and home working, up until 5 April 2022.

On 27 December 2021, it was announced that Digital Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) would be introduced as a permanent option to support a more robust remote recruitment approach to Right To Work checks from the 6th April. Making sure you’re up to date with these new rules, along with other changes such as the introduction of share codes in place of Biometric permits has never been more crucial. Experian’s team of experts can help you navigate through these changes, ensuring you can understand the operational impact and meet legislation in the way which best suits your business.

Embracing technology is key to navigating these fast-moving times. Automation will help you recruit and onboard the right candidates quickly, accurately and efficiently, and support your existing workforce. This also reduces the pressure on your HR team and creates a positive first impression of your company.

“The Experian App has been a great addition, it was successfully launched and fulfilled all of our original expectations. It has given our managers a quicker and more efficient way to conduct right to work checks. The app has streamlined our onboarding processes and we can easily download the reports from the online Experian portal in one go rather than multiple attachments. Thank you for the hard work and great outcome.”
Severn Trent

The Experian Right To Work app will ensure the hard work is done for you.

Find out more

What is a right to work check?

A right to work check involves checking a valid document that shows an individual has permission to work in the UK, in line with current Home Office rules and regulations.

It’s your responsibility as an employer to make sure your employees have a right to work in the UK. If you don’t complete the required checks, you could face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and a range of sanctions, including the closure of your business or even a criminal conviction.

If you carry out the checks required, you’ll have a statutory excuse against liability. This means you won’t receive a civil penalty if it’s found you’ve (unknowingly) employed an illegal worker. You can find up-to-date details in the UK Home Office’s guide for employers and on the website.

What are right to work check documents?

There are a number of documents that a prospective employee can share with you, to prove their right to work. Once these documents are received in a physical or digital format, it’s the employer’s responsibility to check their authenticity either via a manual check or through online right to work checks.

The type of documents that are required depends on the individual’s immigration status.

List A – British citizens

  • UK passport and number (current or expired, as long as there is a good likeness on the photograph)
  • National Insurance number and name
  • Full birth or adoption certificate
  • Certificate, registration or naturalisation as a British citizen

List A – ILR holders and those with settled status under the EU settlement scheme

  • National Insurance number and name
  • Online share code

List B – EEA nationals, EU nationals arriving in the UK after 1 January 2021, or anyone else with time-limited permission to work

  • National Insurance number and name, plus:
  • A copy of an employee’s immigration status document and photograph that confirms the correct leave and permission to conduct allocated work for anyone who must have repeat checks on expiry of their leave
  • Positive Verification Note issued by UKVI alone or alongside Certificate of Application to a non-EEA family member or EEA national / Switzerland that is less than six months for Visa holders where repeat checks are required every six months
  • Or an Application Registration Card permitting employment in question

The standard list of accepted documents was updated on 17 December 2021, coming into effect from 6th April 2022. In this set of changes, physical versions of documents in list A and B including Biometric Residence Cards, Biometric Residence and Frontier Worker Permits will no longer be accepted.

Instead, they’ll need to provide an online share code, which they can obtain by viewing their Home Office right to work record online. It’s important to stay up to date with any new announcements to avoid any risk of non-compliance.

Prospective employee sharing work documents

How do you carry out a right to work check?

  1. Manual right to work checks

A manual check involves:

    • Obtaining original versions of one or more acceptable documents from your candidate
    • Checking the validity of each document in the holder’s presence including expiry dates
    • Making and retaining a clear copy and recording the date of the check
    • Ensuring that any data is held securely and appropriately
  1. Online right to work checks

The Home Office’s Employer Checking Service is for candidates with Application Registration Cards, Certificates of Application and Commonwealth citizens who arrived in the UK before 1988. With your candidate’s permission, you can submit an online form and in around five days, you’ll receive a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) from the Home Office. This will provide you with a statutory excuse against liability for six months.

  1. Online share codes

Individuals with Settled Status, Pre-Settled Status or a Biometric Residence Permit or Card (applied for online via the Home Office) can provide you with a share code to check their right to work status. This share code is valid for 30 days and you’ll also need the individual’s date of birth.

    • You’ll need to visually check your candidate’s facial likeness against the photograph/s on their online status to make sure it’s them and note any document expiry dates
    • As with a manual check, you’ll also need to download and retain a clear PDF copy of the online check
    • In other words, you still have to verify the check and candidate to establish a statutory excuse against liability

The key challenges and opportunities for businesses

As more and more businesses consider a permanent move towards remote working, the rules around checking processes have evolved, as we’ve seen with the introduction of IDVT. Cybersecurity and data privacy will be key to making sure that any digital solution is truly fit for its purpose.

In the current business landscape, businesses are facing four key challenges:

  1. A sea change when it comes to remote working – having a secure, accessible, cloud-based system for checks is essential
  2. Resources are stretched – manual processing of onboarding documentation within HR teams is time-consuming. HR teams need time to focus on the service they provide, rather than administration
  3. Recruitment has sky-rocketed in some sectors – numerous sectors are racing to recruit and onboard new staff as quickly as possible. Often, workers and HR teams are in different locations, making digital solutions that can easily be integrated with your HR systems crucial
  4. Brexit and immigration changes have made compliance more complex – employers need a clear, transparent, complete audit trail to achieve compliance, manage risk, and meet data protection legislation (Data Protection Act 2018) including GDPR

How Experian can help

Our Right to Work app is designed to help you carry out fully compliant UK right to work checks. We’ve done the hard work for you, so you can get the legislation right, no matter how complex it is or what changes in the future.

The app updates automatically as legislation changes. That means your right to work checks will automatically follow the rules in place at the time and you’ll be fully compliant and protected against liability.

The app is completely cloud-based and your HR team will have access to all your right to work checks via the Right to Work portal. So, you’ll have everything you need for tracking, inspections and audits at the touch of a button.