New right to work checks are in force – what do I need to know?

Changes to the government’s right to work legislation came into effect on 1 October 2022. The new rules mean that employers will no longer be able to conduct right to work checks by checking new hires’ identity documents over email.

Instead, employers will only be able to hire new workers by meeting them face-to-face or using certified ID validation software to conduct checks. This revision replaces the rules around the right to work checks which were in operation during the pandemic.


What are right to work checks?

Right to work checks refer to legal checks that employers are required to conduct to ensure that employees have the right to work in the UK. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, on 30 March 2020, the UK government introduced adjustments to right to work checks, as we all adapted to a remote working world. This allowed businesses to conduct right to work checks online, without needing to meet new hires in person.

These adjustments meant that employers were able to conduct right to work checks over email, by accepting scanned or emailed copies of a passport or ID.


So, what’s changed?

The temporary right to work check adjustments came to an end on 30 September 2022. 

The government deferred the introduction of this legislation by six months in order to give businesses the time to develop relationships with Identity Service Providers and ensure that they are complying with the law. 

From 1 October 2022, businesses are now required to  carry out one of the three government-approved checks:

  1. Meet the employee face-to-face and manually complete the check 
  2. Complete a Home Office online check 
  3. Use Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) through the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) 

Businesses face a fine of up to £20,000 if they fail to comply with one of the above right to work checks. 


What are Identity Service Providers (IDSPs)?

The Post Office and identity verification platform Yoti were the first government-certified IDSP’s. Since then, 15 other providers have earned the government’s seal of approval. 

The new right to work checks continue to work harmoniously with our new-found and likely long-lasting way of working in a post-pandemic world. The checks can still be carried out online, but employers now have the added confidence that this will be completed through a verified identity service provider.


How is this going to help? 

The new legislation is a blessing for fully-remote employees or companies that would previously have had to conduct a first-day check. Now, companies know who they are hiring and have certified proof of their right to work. 

Beyond this, it leaves less room for human error. Businesses no longer need to train hiring managers on what constitutes right to work documents and the necessary questions to ask, as this will all be carried out by the IDSP. 

Learn more about the new legislation and read the updated government guidance here