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Digital right to work check regulations go live

New legislation regarding how businesses check their employees’ right to work has officially come into effect in the UK as of 1 October, 2022.

Under the new rules, businesses will only be able to hire applicants by meeting them face to face or using ID validation technology to check hiring documents.

Candidates will no longer be able to send right to work documents to their employer by email to show they can legally work in the country.

Companies face a fine of up to £20,000 if they fail to comply with the new legislation and hire illegal employees.

More on the UK's right to work checks:

Digital right to work checks to be introduced from April

What HR needs to know about October’s digital right to work check changes

Switching to digital staff onboarding allows you to do things right and saves time and money

Who are the providers?

The government named the Post Office and identity verification platform Yoti as the first certified digital identity service providers (IDSP) in June 2022.

Since then, 15 other IDSPs have received government certification: HooYu, TrustID, Digital Identity Net UK, Paycasso, Verify, Sterling (EMEA), T4 Communications UK, Deloitte, Credas Technologies, Amiqus Resolution, Digidentity, CDD Services, OCR Labs Global, uComply, GB Group and Marston Holdings.

Kenneth Hanslip, technical director at Marston Holdings, said the new rules represent a positive change for businesses.

He told HR magazine: “For a business that hires remote workers, this means they can do so at a better and more efficient pace than having to bring someone into the office for a day one check. It's certainly a move in the right direction.

“You have to have evidence that someone has the right to take up the work you're offering, so every job could be slightly different. If you're a large company and you have to train managers in that, you're virtually retraining your managers every week.

“However coming through an IDSP that has been certified as being competent to do the job, you take that need for training away. There's a greater confidence that the people you recruit go through the process and will have a right to work in the UK.”


What does the process look like?

Hanslip gave an example of Marston’s three-step process for verifying documents.

He said: “We will do a manual check on a document with trained vetting officers. Then we'll put it into a process called keesing, using keesing technologies which manage the world's largest identity document library. So we can say with a very high level of confidence that those documents are genuine.

“The applicant will then upload a selfie image. We have people trained in facial comparison who will check that the selfie looks like the person in the document. The process will give employers high confidence that the person being checked has the correct and legal documents.”

Colum Lyons, CEO of ID-Pal, said the new laws showed how workplaces were upgrading for a modern workforce.

He said: “Today’s changes in guidelines to allow employers to carry out right to work checks digitally on in-date UK and Irish passports and Irish Passport Cards via an IDSP brings legislation into closer alignment with our increasingly digitalised world.

“As more and more of our lives move online it gives us greater freedoms when it comes to how we live and work. These changes to right to work guidelines ensure employers can adapt accordingly, whilst demonstrating a firm commitment to data protection and the safe handling of personal information.

“Capturing and retaining the best talent is a priority for employers today and this new legislation will help encourage the adoption of processes that support doing exactly that.”