Right to work checks – British and Irish Nationals

16th February 2022

The Home Office has released details in relation to a right to work check tool using new digital “Identification Document Validation technology” (IDVT) for British and Irish nationals. This demonstrates the Home Office’s intention to move towards using digital processes wherever possible.

From 6 April 2022, an employer will be able to decide whether to carry out right to work checks for British and Irish nationals either manually or to use the new IDVT technology.

Also from this date, employers will not be able to carry out manual right to work checks for those who hold a biometric residence card, biometric residence permit or frontier worker permit. For more information, please see our previous article on this which can be found here.

What is IDVT?

IDVT is a digital tool which will allow British and Irish nationals to confirm their identity remotely and to prove their eligibility to work and also apply for DBS checks. This tool will allow individuals to upload their personal documents rather than providing physical documents to a prospective employer.

It is important to note, however, that only British and Irish passports and Irish passport cards which are valid can be checked online using IDVT. This will be required in order for the employer to obtain a statutory excuse. If an individual wanted to use an expired passport, for example, or use other documents to evidence their right to work, then an employer will need to carry out a manual check or use the relevant Home Office online checking service to satisfy eligibility to work.

What does this mean for employers?

As an employer, you can opt to use IDVT from 6 April 2022 and can engage a IDVT service provider (IDSPs) who has been certified to carry out digital eligibility checks. This is in relation to British/Irish citizens who hold valid passports.

The guidance which can be found here, provides that an employer must check the prospective employee’s identity against that which was verified by the IDSP and on any documents provided to them to establish eligibility to work. If an employer finds that the name differs between the documents, then it must establish why this is the case and must not employ that individual unless the employer is satisfied that the documents relate to them.

As the IDVT technology has not yet been released, it is not clear what the exact process will be to check an individual’s right to work using this technology. There is, however, guidance which can be found here, which sets out the process to follow known as ‘identity checking’ in order to verify an individual’s identity. In summary the process is made up of 5 parts:

  1. Obtain evidence of the claimed identity (i.e. the passport).
  2. Check the evidence is genuine or valid.
  3. Check the claimed identity has existed over time.
  4. Check if the claimed identity is at high risk of identity fraud.
  5. Check that the identity belongs to the person who’s claiming it.

The guidance makes clear in relation to step 5 that an employer must also confirm that the image provided to the IDSP is a true likeness of the prospective employee. This can be done face to face or via a video call. A statutory excuse will not be obtained by an employer where it is reasonably apparent that the prospective employee is not the individual linked to the identity which was verified by the IDSP.

An employer will need to ensure that they retain this information securely for the duration of employment and for two years afterwards.

If you need any further advice in relation to the above, please get in touch with Rajveer Basra, email rajveerbasra@schofieldsweeney.co.uk 

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