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Right to Work Changes – Are you ready for 1 October 2022?

  • United Kingdom
  • Employment law
  • Global mobility and immigration

29-09-2022

For over two years employers have been able to carry out virtual right to work checks on eligible individuals by using the COVID adjusted check process. The Home Office has confirmed that the popular COVID adjusted right to work process will end on 30 September 2022.

We have carried out a survey of employers to see how they are preparing for the end of COVID adjusted checks, including their plans for returning to in-person checks on original List A/List B documents or use of the new Identification Document Validation Technology (“IDVT”) for those who hold a valid British or Irish passport (including an Irish passport card). We have set out the results below, together with some areas to consider in preparation for the transition.

End of COVID Adjusted Checks Employer Survey – The Results

Our results show that over 90% of employers surveyed have used COVID adjusted checks. They have shared that virtual right to work checks offer a better candidate/employee experience and were easier to manage from an operational perspective. Most employers also had a strong preference, where possible, to retain a form of virtual right to work checks.

In terms of preparing for the end of COVID adjusted checks, the results are as follows:

  • 49% said they felt that their company was ready for the end of COVID adjusted checks. 51% said they were not;
  • only 43% confirmed that they would be undertaking IDVT right to work checks as of 1 October 2022, of which:
    • only 32% had chosen an Identity Service Provider (IDSP);
    • only 26% had signed up to the IDSP’s terms;
    • 57% were not happy with the price offered by the IDSP;
  • the main reasons the 57% who confirmed that they would not be undertaking IDVT RTW checks gave for their decision were:
    • the costs were prohibitive;
    • they have not had time to onboard the IDSP; and
    • they have not been able to dedicate the time to fully understand the IDVT process.

The results clearly demonstrate that adopting IDVT right to work checks is a major shift for employers. There are many logistical issues to work through including commercial negotiations, data privacy considerations, as well as building IDVT into policies and processes. In addition to this, IDVT right to work checks can only be used for those who hold a valid UK or Irish passport or Irish passport card. This means that there is still a pool of individuals where there is no alternative to an in-person check on original documents (e.g. UK birth certificate and national insurance evidence).

What should employers consider as a priority?

  1. Is the business in a position to revert to manual right to work checks on 1 October 2022 given the fundamental shift in working practices?
  2. Do businesses want to adopt IDVT to reduce the risk of illegal working? If so, explore IDSPs. Many pre-employment screening providers are able to offer this as a bolt-on and this may be a first consideration from a commercial perspective.
  3. Consider any terms and conditions from the IDSP, including their data privacy arrangements.
  4. Carefully review the output from the IDSP to ensure that the business creates a statutory excuse against a civil penalty.
  5. Review policies and process to build in the IDVT right to work check process and ensure that the IDVT employer actions are carried out to fully complete all IDVT checks.

How we can help

IDVT is a welcome development for employers in order to reduce the risk of illegal working in the UK and maintain a level of virtual checks. However, with a heavily reliance on COVID-adjusted right to work checks over the last two years, this is a major change in processes for employers and many are underprepared for the shift.

If you have any questions, or would like us to support with any changes to your right to work processes in advance of 1 October 2022, please contact the immigration team at Eversheds Sutherland.