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The Return of In-Person Document Checks

When Covid-19 made face-to-face meetings impossible, the UK government eased the requirements for right to work check documents to be inspected in-person, allowing remote video calls with prospective employees as a substitute. From the 1st of October however, face-to-face document checks will return, meaning that employers must visually inspect and copy original physical documents with the employee present, before they can begin work. The only exceptions to this rule are where a valid share code can be used, or a Digital Identity Service Provider (IDSP) can carry out the check remotely, on an employer’s behalf.

What does this mean?

All right to work checks in the UK must once again be carried out via man-ual document checks in the presence of the employee, unless:

  • The employee is a non-UK National who can prove their right to work in the UK using the Home Office’s online tool.(Right to work in this instance is proven remotely, via an online share code.)

  • The employee is a British or Irish National who holds a valid, in-date pass-port.
    (Right to work can be proven remotely using a certified IDSP.) For this option to be available, the employer must have secured the services of a certified IDSP to carry out remote right to work checks on their behalf.

Why is it changing back?

Despite the short-term usefulness and efficiency of remote right to work docu-ment checks over the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic, there was an increased risk of fraudulent documents being used.

Utilising a secure framework for digital identity verification will not only allow a large majority of the checks to remain remote, but will also decrease the risk of employment or identity fraud. Where a digital identity verification or online share code is not an option, face-to-face meetings further decrease the risk of fraudu-lent activity.

Finding a certified IDSP

It is recommended that all employers source a certified IDSP in advance, to car-ry out digital right to work checks on their behalf from the 1st of October.

As digital identity checks can be carried out for any British or Irish National who holds a valid passport, this should ensure that the majority of the checks can remain remote.

The government is continually updating the list of certified IDSPs here.

If an employer does not use an IDSP, then all of their right to work checks (excluding any using online share codes) must return to an in-person format.

The cost of living crisis and after-effects of the pandemic where travel was heavily restricted, may mean that more British and Irish Nationals do not have the means or the reason, to hold an in-date passport.

Despite logistical or administrative concerns an organisation might have, in-person right to work checks should always be made available to potential or existing employees, to ensure fairness and to avoid discrimination.

“Employers must not treat less favourably those who do not hold a valid passport, or do not wish to prove their identity using an IDSP. You must provide individuals with other ways to prove their right to work and should carry out a manual document-based right to work check in these circumstances.”

Home Office Guidance

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