Conducting Right to Work checks - 2023 

April 17, 2023

There has been a flurry of updates and new guidance issued to employers from the Home Office in recent months, representing a challenge for employers to keep abreast. In a series of articles over the next few weeks, we will set out the options that now exist to undertake Right to Work checks and help you ensure you remain compliant. 

In this first article let’s recap how we got to this point. Below we have set out the sequence of key legislation changes relating to Right to Work:


1. Physical RTW Checks – Since 2008 employers have been tasked with conducting physical ‘manual’ checks on a candidate’s ‘acceptable’ documents to prove they have a Right to Work in the UK. This involves a face to face meeting with the candidate (which can be part of a routine interview) and a physical inspection of the candidate’s documentation. 

2. Digital RTW Checks – In 2019 the Government introduced a ‘digital checking option’; whereby the candidate can provide a ‘share code’ for the employer to access and inspect an ‘eVisa’ as proof of their Right to Work. This development meant that it was now possible for checks to be undertaken remotely via video, as the document provided is digital and originates only from the Government website. The use of share codes has now expanded considerably as a result of the EU Exit (and the removal of Biometric Residence Cards / Permits as acceptable documents in 2021).

3. COVID Adjusted Checks - When COVID struck the Home Office allowed ALL checks to be conducted via a video call according to a simple set of rules. Some recruiters (particularly temp recruitment agencies, umbrella organisations, and gig economy enterprises) found COVID-adjusted checks appealing, providing a major operational advantage. However, companies have identified and experienced risk; this temporary adjustment and relaxing of regulations created an easy avenue for fraudulent documents, with the potential for imposters to be hired. As a consequence, many employers are busy ‘auditing’ and rechecking those employed during this temporary period, which extended for 18 months until 30th September 2022. 

4. IDVT Checks - Coincident with the Government’s removal of the ability for employers to conduct COVID-adjusted checks - use of IDVT to conduct was legitimised in 2022. Employers were now able to use certified IDSPs (Identity Document Service Providers) to conduct checks using IDVT (Identity Document Validation Technology). This enabled candidates to submit and authenticate certain documents remotely (British and Irish Passports and Irish Passport Cards). This development is significant and widely regarded as a major step forward in the digitisation of Right to Work checks. 

5. Imposter Checks - because of the remote/virtual nature of digital/IDVT approaches to conduct Right to Work checks, an ‘imposter check’ is required for employers/recruiters to address compliance and acquire a ‘statutory excuse’. Basically, this involves ensuring the person presenting themselves for work, is actually the individual who has been checked remotely and not an imposter. However, once again the challenge for employers is to ensure they have a robust process in place to ensure this imposter check has been undertaken and recorded. 

In future articles we will explore each of the above in detail, outlining any corresponding actions you should consider.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, would like to speak to one of our Right-to-work specialists, or would like a demo of our platform contact