A Simple Guide to UK Right to Work Checks

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At Veremark, we promise to keep you in the loop on the latest changes within the HR and background screening space, while also simplifying complex topics within the industry. With this in mind, and as part of our continued coverage related to UK Right to Work (RTW) checks, we’ve created a simple guide to help employers understand the latest changes and steps needed to remain compliant. 

Our simple overview covers everything from how organizations can fulfill their legal obligations in the most compliant and efficient way possible, to the steps needed to speed up and improve the onboarding and candidate experience. 

The End of Temporary Adjustments and the Start of Digital RTW Checks

In light of the UK’s government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office instituted  temporary adjustments to the UK right to work process. The temporary measures enabled employers to conduct right to work checks remotely via video calls and to accept scanned copies of required documents in place of review of original versions. Use of these measures came to an end on the 30th September, 2022. 

Although the temporary measures are no longer valid, a new digital and more streamlined method for conducting right to work checks has been made available effective from the 1st October 2022. The Home Office has also confirmed that it will not be necessary to conduct  retrospective checks for employees that were checked under the adjusted COVID-19 right to work protocols in effect between 30 March 2022 and 30th September 2022. 

It is mandatory for employers to conduct a right to work check for every employee before the first day of work. Employers must conduct at least one of the following three checks:

  • Online check using the Home Office online service 
  • Right to Work Check using identity document validation technology (IDTV) through the services of an certified identity service provider (IDSP) ;  or 
  • An in-person, manual check using original documentation 

We recognize that every candidate’s situation is different so we have created a digital journey for UK Right to Work checks that automatically adapts to each individual. Our process takes the stress and guesswork out of compliance by offering all three options for completing the check (while also providing the basis for a statutory excuse). We’ll explore these three options in more detail below:

1. Home Office Online Right to Work Service 

The online Home Office Right to Work Check Service is only available to non-British and non-Irish passport holders. This would include anyone who falls under the EU settlement scheme, anyone who has a UK Visas and immigration account, a Biometric Residence Permit, Biometric Residence Card or Visa. In short, the online method can be used for anyone who can provide a sharecode. 

Candidates can share a right to work sharecode with their employer, who can then proceed to verify their right to work digitally via the Home Office’s service. Alternatively, as part of Veremark’s can use the sharecode to conduct the online right to work check via the UK government database, with the official report available on the Veremark platform for the client to view. 

2. Engage the Services of an IDSP 

Legislation came into force on the 6th April 2022 that allows employers to use certified identification document validation technology (IDVT)  service providers to carry out digital identity checks for British and Irish citizens that hold a valid passport (including Irish passports). As a streamlined alternative to manual checks, IDVT allows organizations to remotely verify an applicant’s identity while proving their eligibility to work. 

Employers are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of partnering with a certified digital identity service provider (IDSP) to leverage the benefits of IDVT. While not mandatory, the use of an IDSP is a recommended approach endorsed by the UK government, as it provides a level of assurance for complying with the relevant standard. IDSPs are able to conduct digital identity verifications for the range of standards as outlined in the GPG45 (Good Practice Guide), which is the core guidance for digital identity. GPG45 sets out four levels of confidence for proof of identity. These levels are:

  • Low confidence (Not used) 
  • Medium confidence (RTW & Basic DBS) 
  • High confidence (Standard DBS & Enhanced DBS) 
  • Very high confidence (Not used)

This guidance sits within the UK digital identity and attributes trust framework. For the right to work check, a medium confidence level is required. 

Veremark’s Digital RTW service provides an intuitive, step-by-step process for candidates to follow for identity verification. This includes real-time prompts, tips on providing required documentation and advice for completing the likeness check through our IDSP partner Hooyu. 

3. In-Person Manual Checks through Review of Original Documentation 

For employers that do not choose an IDSP for a Right to Work check, and for candidates that are unable to benefit from the other two check methods, a manual in-person check leveraging original documentation is the mandatory and default alternative for British and Irish citizens.  

This type of check involves obtaining and checking documents from List A from the following Home Office Guidance. When using Veremark’s digital journey for the manual check, the candidate will be prompted to upload the relevant identification documents, such as a UK birth certificate. The Veremark team checks the documents to assess their applicability to establish the candidate’s right to work status, noting the findings. Upon seeing the candidate face-to-face, the client can utilize the Veremark notes along with the candidate provided documents to help establish the right to work. 

As part of legal obligations, employers who conduct right to work checks correctly and consistently can rely on a statutory defense to avoid the risk of significant penalties and fines, staying one step ahead of illegal workers, while also providing confidence when making hiring decisions and recruiting new applicants.

Looking to conduct a single Right to Work Check? Veremark can help, check out our  pay as you go service. If you need over 30 checks for your growing workforce - we’ve got you covered! 

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This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

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UK Right to Work Guide

As an employer, you’ll know it’s your legal responsibility to check the immigration status of each candidate with a right to work check - but did you know this can now be done digitally without any in-person involvement?

With digital right to work checks underway - learn how you can obtain a statutory excuse and stay one step ahead of illegal workers along with the severe consequences of hiring them.

Right to Work legislation requires that every United Kingdom (UK) employer, regardless of size, conduct a right to work check on every new employee before they are onboarded, as well as ensuring the right to work status of existing employees. Though it is a simple prerequisite, failure to comply can result in serious repercussions for employers. Non-compliance can result in fines of up to £20,000 per employee and/or a jail term of 5 year.

The severity of the penalties for employing an undocumented immigrant worker can potentially damage the employer's brand and business reputation as well as lead to sponsor license suspensions and disqualification of directors. The only way to establish a defence against a civil penalty or statutory excuse is for the employer to demonstrate that the right to work check has been carried out as per the regulations and the employer has valid proof of the same.

Our comprehensive right to work guide covers all of the latest updates - including how employers can remotely verify an individual's right to work status using an identity service provider!

In this report, we discuss:

- Who has the right to work in the UK?

- What is UK’s Right to Work Check?

- What are the employer obligations for the right to work check?

- How does an IDSP enable employer compliance with the right to work check?

- How can Veremark help employers comply with the regulation?

Get your own copy!