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In early 2022, the Government introduced updates to the existing Right to Work laws. The Right to Work checks were introduced in the UK around a decade ago, as a way of making sure that everyone who has a job in the UK is both in the UK legally and has the right visa for working. These identity checks are a legal requirement, and employers who are found with illegal workers who have not been checked out can be fined. Over the years the system has changed, with the most recent change being the unveiling a Digital Right to Work Scheme. This new approach allows employers to remotely authenticate the identity of individuals holding applicable documents through an Identity Service Provider (IDSP).

Options for Identity Checking

Employers now have the flexibility to choose from three options when they are carrying out Right to Work checks on people they are thinking of employing. These are:

  • Digital checks for eligible applicants, mostly overseas workers with a share code, but also British and Irish passport holders.
  • Return to physical document Right to Work checks or asking applicants to show their documents in person.
  • Combine both checking methods.

Understanding Digital Right to Work Checks

A Digital Right to Work check enables applicants with valid proof of identity to remotely verify their identity and establish their Right to Work. For UK and Irish citizens with in-date biometric passports or passport cards, this means logging into one of the identity verification portals approved by the government and entering details such as passport numbers. The identity portal then provides a report to the employer confirming document authenticity and UK work eligibility.

For people who were born outside the UK and who have an eVisa, they can generate an official share code which can then be shared with the employer as proof of right to work.

Key Checks on Right to Work Documents

When conducting a digital Right to Work check, employers will never physically see the original document or the person uploading it. Therefore, to prevent imposter fraud, employers must ensure the document matches the employee by using biometric facial matching. This matches a selfie image taken by a webcam or similar to the applicant’s identity verification image. Employers should additionally confirm the employee’s identity when they start work, either through a face-to-face meeting or a video call.

Checking a Share Code

Overseas nationals can present a share code for Right to Work verification. Once generated, the share code is valid for 90 days. Employers can use it to log into the government’s “View and Prove” website. Once verified through the website, employers must still check the documents against the person presenting themselves for work to make sure they are the true owners of the document and of the share code. There is lots of help on the government website for both employers confused about the Right to Work system, and for workers who are trying to get through the process efficiently so that they are able to start a new job.