Permanent digital system for the right to work checks from April

It is a criminal offence for an employer knowingly to employ an individual who does not have permission to work in the UK, or whom it has reasonable cause to believe does not have permission to work in the UK.

By carrying out right to work checks, and follow-up checks where required, employers may have a defence against liability for illegally employing a migrant worker.

The Government has announced that employers will be able to use a new digital identity-checking service to ascertain job applicants’ right to work in the UK. The service will be provided via certified Identification Document Validation Technology (‘IDVT’) providers. Employers will be able to use the service to check the identity of individuals who cannot demonstrate their right to work using the existing online Home Office checking service, including British and Irish citizens. Job applicants who are within the scope of the new system will be able to prove their identity remotely.

The existing temporary relaxation of the document checking requirements, which was introduced in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and allows employers to carry out right to work checks remotely, is due to end on 5th April 2022. The Government says that IDVT will be introduced from 6th April 2022.

Details of the regulations due to come into effect from 6th April 2022 will need to be published and examined; however, the general trend at the Home Office is to move towards using digital processes wherever possible.