Home Office releases details of right to work check tool for British and Irish Nationals

Home Office releases details of right to work check tool for British and Irish Nationals

The rise of the online divorce

From 6 April 2022, significant changes are being made to right to work checks. From that date, employers will have the option to undertake right to work checks for British and Irish nationals either manually or using new digital "Identity Document Validation Technology" (IDVT). 

At the same time, manual right to work checks will no longer be acceptable for most non-UK nationals. Further information on the changes to right to work checks for non-UK nationals can be found here.

What does IDVT do?

IDVT technology will allow British and Irish nationals to confirm their identity remotely and to prove their eligibility to work (or rent) and apply for DBS checks. Using IDVT will allow individuals to upload images of their personal documents, instead of presenting physical documents to a prospective employer.

However, only valid British and Irish passports and Irish passport cards will be able to be checked online using IDVT. If individuals wish to evidence their right to work using other documents, including an expired passport, the employer will need to conduct a manual check. 

Does the employer need to carry out the check?

If an employer opts to carry out a manual right to work check, this must still be carried out by the employer and cannot be delegated to a third party or the employer will not obtain a statutory excuse against a civil penalty. Further, from 6 April 2022, any manual checks will need to be undertaken in person before the person’s employment commences.  

However, employers (and landlords) opting to use IDVT from 6 April 2022 will be able to engage a private sector certified IDVT service provider (IDSP) to carry out digital eligibility checks in relation to British/Irish citizens who hold a valid passport. Importantly, the employer will have to ensure the IDSP is certified to the required standards and the employer must provide training for staff on how to liaise with the IDSP and what other requirements the employer will need to fulfil to establish eligibility to work. For example, the employer must check the prospective employee’s identity against that which was verified by the IDSP and in relation to any documents provided to them to establish eligibility to work.  If the name differs between documents, the employer must establish why this is the case and must not employ that individual unless they are satisfied that the documents relate to them. The employer will also have additional involvement in confirming the person is who they say they are (see below).

What is the process?

It is currently unclear exactly what the process will be for checking an individual’s right to work using IDVT as the technology has not yet been released. However, the guidance confirms that IDVT will check the identity of the applicant by completing the following five stages:

  1. Obtaining evidence of the individual’s claimed identity (i.e. the passport);
  2.  Confirming the evidence is genuine and valid;
  3. Confirming that there is a history of the person’s claimed identity;
  4. Confirming that the individual’s claimed identity is not at high risk of identity fraud; and
  5. Confirming the identity belongs to the person claiming it.

Step five involves the employer obtaining an image of the individual (either in person or over a video call) and providing this to the IDSP with a confirmation that it is a true likeness of the individual and the IDSP will then check this against the evidence provided. Employers will not obtain a statutory excuse where it is reasonably apparent that the prospective employee is not the individual linked to the identity which was verified by the IDSP.

Information provided by the IDSP in relation to the individual must be retained by employers for the duration of the person’s employment and for two years afterwards.

What about foreign nationals?

From 6 April, manual right to work checks will no longer be acceptable for non-UK nationals with biometric residence permits, biometric residence cards or frontier worker permits. Please see our article here for more details.

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