Tue 01 Feb 2022

Online services the future for right to work checks

Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) will allow employers to conduct secure right to work checks remotely.

Since March 2020 employers have been able to use adjusted procedures for right to work ("RTW") checks for British citizens.  This enabled employers to cover practical difficulties - primarily the checker being unable to easily gain access to the original documents required for a manual RTW check - caused by increased homeworking during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The use of the adjusted procedures, which negate the need to handle physical documents, was welcomed by employers.  However, not having sight of the documents carried with it an increased risk of use of fraudulent documents.  The adjusted procedures were due to end on 31 August 2021, were extended to 5 April 2022 and have been extended again to 30 September 2022.  The initial extension was to enable a more secure long term solution for remote checks to be put in place for those who are not in scope to use the Home Office's online right to work check service.  Only individuals carrying a biometric residents permit ("BRP"), biometric residence card ("BRC") or frontier worker permit ("FWP") can use online right to work check service, and so British and Irish nationals are excluded.  

The long term solution for remote checks that has been developed is IDVT.  IDVT will allow British and Irish nationals (and others who are not eligible for the current online right to work service) to upload images of their RTW documents that can then be used to verify identity remotely.  The further extension of use of the adjusted procedures from April to September 2022 is intended to allow employers time to update their own pre-employment check procedures and build a commercial relationship with identity service providers.

It is intended that IDVT will be provided by one or more private sector companies, who will be certified by the UK Government.  The use of private sector providers means there will be a cost attached to this service, and it is likely this will be met by the employer.  Reports have suggested that the cost could be anything between £1.45 and £70 for a check.  This means there will be a charge for verifying the identify of UK nationals, while the existing online service for those carrying BRC, BRP or FWCs is free. 

There will be no requirement to use the new IDVT for British and Irish nationals, and it will still be possible to carry out a manual check, but this will require the employer to see the original documents and not a scanned copy of them. Given the new service has a cost attached to it, many employers may prefer to retain the option of manual checks.  However, the Home Office announced in December 2021 that from April 2022 checks for individuals carrying BRC, BRP or FWCs can only be done online, and that manual checks will not be possible. 

Employers should review their internal right to work procedures in light of both the introduction of the new online service covering UK nationals, and the implementation of the mandatory online checks for those holding BRCs, BRPs or FWCs.  

Make an Enquiry

From our offices we serve the whole of Scotland, as well as clients around the world with interests in Scotland. Please complete the form below, and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.

Morton Fraser MacRoberts LLP will use the information you provide to contact you about your inquiry. The information is confidential. For more information on our privacy practices please see our Privacy Notice