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Changes to right-to-work checks

01 November 2022
Changes to right-to-work checks

Changes that affect how businesses hire staff came into force on 1 October 2022. In the UK, it is a legal requirement to check a person’s right to work before you employ them, known as right-to-work checks. Here, we explore the latest changes to right-to-work checks.

What are right-to-work checks?

Employers have a legal responsibility to prevent anyone from working illegally by checking the immigration status of successful job applicants. These right-to-work checks form an important part of the onboarding process when hiring new staff for any business in the UK.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK Government introduced digital right-to-work checks, meaning businesses were still able to continue to hire staff when face-to-face checks were not possible. 

What changes came into force on 1st October?

Changes were introduced in April 2022 to make the digital verification process more secure. And from 1 October 2022, UK businesses wishing to carry out digital checks must:

  • use identity service providers (IDSPs) that offers identity document validation technology (IDVT)
  • keep digital records for two years after an employee exits your business

Many businesses have moved to remote and hybrid working, so the option for secure, digital right-to-work checks is designed to help make the recruitment process more efficient.

IDVT is available for employers to use to conduct digital right-to-work checks for employees who do not fall within the scope of the online service, including British and Irish citizens who hold a valid passport. It is not mandatory for employers to use the IDVT and employers would be able to maintain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty if they continue to carry out compliant manual checks for British and Irish citizens. Checks conducted using IDVT must be carried out via an IDSP, and the list of certified IDSPs can be found here.

What does this mean for employers?

These changes mean that employers are no longer allowed to verify ID documents using less secure methods, such as email or video call.

Not complying with the new legislation could result in a £20,000 fine or being banned from sponsoring visas for foreign nationals in the future.

We hope that you have found this post useful. If you’d like to discuss right-to-work checks or other business immigration matters, contact our business immigration experts here.

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