top of page

Right-To-Work Checks are Changing, Are you ready?

Updated: Oct 22, 2022

According to a recent article in Personnel Today, a survey conducted by Xydus found that 48% of businesses are not ready for the upcoming changes to the way we take digital right-to-work checks which come into force on 1st October 2022. 78% were also not aware they could face jail time for not complying with the rules around illegal working. This article provides an overview of the upcoming changes and what employers need to know.

How do things work now?

Before the pandemic businesses were required to conduct right-to-work checks in person. That

meant seeing a person's right-to-work documentation, making a copy and signing that copy to verify that a right-to-work check had taken place. When the covid-19 pandemic rocked the world, employers were no longer able to conduct in-person checks and the UK government temporarily relaxed the in-person rules. This relaxation allowed employers to carry out right-to-work checks via video calls and for candidates to email their new employers' copies of their ID as opposed to having to carry out an in-person right-to-work check. With the requirements around social distancing, this meant employers didn't have to see their new employees' physical right-to-work documents.

What's changing?

As of 1st October 2022, the temporary relaxation of the changes to the rules around right-to-work checks will come to an end. Employers can still take in-person right-to-work checks as normal, but when conducting digital right-to-work checks for British and Irish citizens new rules will apply. When taking a digital right-to-work check for a prospective new employee, employers can now choose to use a certified Identity Service Provider (IDSP) who can complete right-to-work checks on prospective employees who are British Citizens with valid passports. These digital checks will be an alternative to an in-person check and will come at a price per check. Only government-approved suppliers can be used to allow employers to claim a statutory excuse (something legal to fall back on) should anything go wrong with an individual check. Depending on the provider digital checks may involve using a mobile app or an online portal for candidates to verify their identity.

It's important to note that these changes apply to British and Irish Citizens only. The systems that we have in place for checking the ID of non-British and Irish Citizens remain in place. Businesses employing foreign nationals with biometric residence cards/permits or frontier work permits will need to conduct online right-to-work checks via the government's Employer Checking Service.

What happens if businesses get it wrong?

It's unlawful to employ someone in the UK who doesn't have the right to work in the UK. If employers get it wrong and take on someone who isn't eligible to work, they could face serious repercussions including a possible criminal conviction and a fine of up to £20,000 per eligible employee. Where an employer has carried out an adequate right-to-work check they'll have what's called a 'statutory excuse' against a civil penalty for employing someone illegally.

What do businesses need to do?

If your business is still able to do in-person ID checks it's fine to carry on doing so. If you want to do digital checks, however, you'll need to choose which IDSP you'd like to use within your business to make sure you're covered if things go wrong with the check. We'd suggest choosing a provider that offers a good user interface so your candidates get a great experience when using the IDSPs software and also a provider that offers a cost-effective solution that works for your business. If you already have an HR system, make sure you consider whether or not your chosen provider can integrate with your HR system.

What providers are available?

The government have backed a number of IDSP providers;

  • Yoti

  • Amiqus

  • Digidenity

  • HooYou

  • Rightcheck

  • Sterling

  • TrustID

* As the new rules haven't come into play yet we can't provide any recommendations on which ones to use. The above is simply a list of some of the available providers, not all providers are listed.

Next steps

If you think you need an IDSP provider we'd suggest getting in contact with a handful of providers to see some demos before you pick a system.

Need some more support?

Need some HR help? Click here to book a free consultation with an HR specialist from Tap HR.


The above is provided as guidance only, always seek your own legal advice when it comes to anything employment law related.

Follow us on our social media platforms!

20 views0 comments


bottom of page