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Digital right to work checks allowed from 6th April 2022

On the 27th December 2021, the Home Office released an announcement confirming that UK employers will be allowed to perform digital right to work checks from the 6th of April 2022. In addition, there is a planned roll-out of digital identity services, which will be delivered by officially certified providers from early 2022.

The temporary use of remote right to work checks using video-calling technology (with a temporary removal of the requirement to see the original document) during the pandemic, was due to end in April 2022 and revert back to in-person checks, having been extended a number of times however, many industry bodies and employers have successfully lobbied the UK government in order to allow remote right to work checks to continue permanently.

The two main changes announced to the Right to Work Scheme which will come into effect from the 6th April 2022 are:

  1. Allowing those in scope to verify their identity remotely, prove their eligibility to work or rent and apply for DBS checks. Using Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) allows people to upload images of their personal documents, instead of presenting physical documents to a prospective employer – reducing time and mitigating risk.

  2. Allowing private sector IDVT service providers to become independently certified by UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) accredited assessors to ensure the technology meets the Government Standards and the applicant’s data is protected.

The Home Office and the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) are working with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to develop a framework for Digital Identities: the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework. The Framework will enable employers to utilise a certified private sector provider of IDVT who has been independently certified by UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) assessors, ensuring that the technology meets government standards, and that the individual’s data is properly protected.

The Home Office announcement stated the following:

“Enabling the use of IDVT for right to work, right to rent and DBS checks will help to support long-term post pandemic working practices, accelerate the recruitment and onboarding process, improve employee mobility and enhance the security and integrity of the checks. The technology utilised across the identity process removes human error in terms of identifying fraudulent documents or inaccuracies and will support the Home Office, DBS and DCMS in driving improvements through their delivery partners.”

This month, the UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework will open, enabling providers to begin the process of certification. Certification will involve meeting requirements listed within the trust framework and also any specific rules for particular schemes. The framework was launched initially in February 2021 as an alpha prototype which has since undergone two public consultations, thorough testing with services, industries, organisations and potential users; the second beta version will begin development in early 2022, before official formalisation in legislation from April 2022. The government announcement states that:

“This will provide a secure underpinning of robust rules for providers to meet, test the real-world implementation of the trust framework during the beta phase of testing, and ensure providers are on track to meet the rules of the future multi-use case state for digital identity solutions.”

Further information on how organisations can become certified IDVT providers will be available in early 2022.

Employers are advised to continue with right to work checks as per current guidance in the mean time, however it is good practice to check the Employer’s Guide to right to work checks for any changes that are published, and the Advisory Bureau will also release updates as necessary.

For further information and to see the official Home Office announcement, click here.

What is a Digital Identity?

A digital representation of an individual, which can be used to prove their identity in official transactions or interactions with organisations.

Rather than presenting a physical identity document, the same information can be provided digitally.

What are the benefits?

  • Quicker and easier processes.

  • Money and time saving.

  • Reducing risk of fraud.

  • Reducing risk of human error when manually checking documents.

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