Right to Work Checks – 5 Common Mistakes & Human Errors to Avoid

May 18, 2022
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If you are reading this, you are probably very aware of the severe financial penalties for employers who are found to be non-compliant with Right to Work legislation.  Furthermore, since the introduction of the Points Based Immigration System employers also need to appreciate an incidence of non-compliance (regardless of how small) could lead to the loss of their sponsorship licence. 

The problem with Right to Work checks is that they are quite complex and operationally very difficult to control. There are many people and moving cogs to coordinate; making sure that hiring managers understand the rules, physically conducting the checks at different locations, regular home office and legislation changes, accommodating new document types, compiling checks for centralised HR verification.

The five most common errors we encounter are as follows:

1. Wrong or Invalid Documents

This is by far the most worrying issue for employers. The combination of acceptable Right to Work documents is defined in Home Office guidance. If they were not correctly obtained, inspected and copied in the first instance, then the check is non-compliant, and this non-compliance cannot be rectified retrospectively.

For example:

  • Out-of-date overseas passports with current visas in them
  • Birth Certificates without any proof of National Insurance
  • European Passports or National ID Cards
  • eVisa without supporting Positive Verification Notice
  • Passports and Birth Certificates without no evidence of name change
  • Invalid Biometric Residence Permits and Residence Cards

Controlling what is collected by your recruiter conducting the check has always proved challenging. They are not immigration experts, can easily misinterpret Home Office guidance, or simply not be aware that the rules have changed.

The Rightcheck app has the Home Office guidance built-in and automatically updates when the rules change. Anyone who is conducting a Right to Work check is intuitively guided to conduct a compliant check, no matter how complex. Facial recognition analysis and document verification technology are used to identify potential fake ID.

2. Imposter & Fake Documents

Imposter and fake documents are more common than you might expect. Most employers rely on a physical document check by the recruiter, or the keen eye of a HR administrator inspecting photocopies before approval or filling. Bogus documents can easily slip through the net. Fortunately very high-quality fake passports are rare, so it is more likely the document is real but belongs to someone else. The introduction of 'share codes' and eVisas has opened up the possibility for candidates to present valid 'share codes' borrowed from similar looking friends or family. They rely on the employer not noticing that the eVisa photo is not the same as the candidate in front of them or on a video call.

Rightcheck incorporates facial recognition analysis and document verification technology are used to identify potential fake ID.

3. Not Re-checking Expiring Right to Work Checks

There are several reasons why employers fail to re-check employees with an expiring Right to Work check. Even with a system or spreadsheet in place, tracking expiring visas requires recruiters to correctly identify which relevant documents expire and to accurately record the date before passing on to be tracked. eVisas tend to state when the check expires, so easier in one sense, but the date can be buried within the text of the page or PDF. The date still needs to be manually extracted, recorded and tracked, so accuracy can remain an issue. Recent changes to the rules has also meant a big increase in the need for employers to collect a Positive Verification Notice (PVN) from the Employers Checking Service. These only last for six months which means more re-checks, more dates to record.

Rightcheck automatically captures expiry dates, flag if one is required during the check and will track and alert administrators in advance of expiry.

4. No Supporting Evidence

In certain cases there are times when supporting evidence is required to establish a ‘Statutory Excuse’, but this can easily be overlooked. For example, if the candidate's name has changed (typically marriage, divorce, deed poll) evidence as to why must be included. Overseas students also require evidence of term dates from their universities and several types of eVisas require a PVN from the Employer Checking Service. Without supporting evidence the checks are not compliant.

The logic built into Rightcheck knows when supporting evidence is required and prompts recruiters to include it accordingly.

5. Security of Personal Data

GDPR and data protection is a major risk for business today and needs to be addressed when capturing highly personal identity documents and data. Whilst you are legally obliged to copy and securely retain check data for the period of employment (plus two years) and then you MUST then delete the check data. Again, this can be challenging to manage:

  • Photocopying means that the paper copy needs to be filed and stored securely. How do you control access to storage cupboards at local sites, or central offices?
  • Scanning and uploading often leaves a digital copy on a local device such as phone, tablet, laptop, scanner, memory stick. How do you wipe these clean?
  • Emailing a copy to HR administration teams means that checks cannot be easily contained (within the business, or worse externally). They are very difficult to delete 2 years after a candidate leaves, or has requested a right to be forgotten if they were never employed.

Rightcheck encrypts and secures data from the moment it is captured to the point it is deleted. At no time are the checks and identity documents emailed, with data access restricted and controlled.

If you would like to discuss any of the points raised above, please contact us or request a live demonstration of Rightcheck.