HR Expert: Upcoming changes to right to work checks
My client has been told that right to checks will be changing soon, and they are concerned they will have to re-check their entire workforce. This would be a huge endeavour! They will shortly also be starting a recruitment drive, hoping to bring in more staff between now and the summer. They have asked if the changes they have been told could affect them, in what way and how they can prepare for this?

Your client is right that there will be changes to right to work checks from 6 April 2022. However, they do not need to be overly concerned with this, as for the most part the changes are confirming what has already been in place during the pandemic and shouldn’t impact them too much.

The first thing that will change is that the right to work of those who hold a biometric residence card (BRC), biometric residence permit (BRP) or frontier work permit (FWP) will only be able to be checked online. Currently these checks can be completed manually but this option will no longer be available from 6 April 2022. However, and hopefully reassuring for your client to know, it will not be necessary for employers to carry out retrospective checks for employees where a manual check was completed on or before 5 April 2022.

A further change is that a new, permanent digital solution (identification document validation technology) is to be introduced, allowing employers to complete ID checks for UK and Irish citizens without the need for physical copies of documents. It is expected that this will become the only process for completing such ID checks, with manual checks abolished long-term. This will streamline the process for ID checks, and allow your clients to recruit entirely remotely, expanding the geographic reach within which they can recruit.

In light of the above, your client would be wise to review their current right to work check process and prepare for the digital process now. Whatever policies they have on right to work checks will need to be reviewed and updated to include digital checks. They will also need to review the information they send out to candidates and the recruitment process should they wish to take advantage now of digital identity checks for UK and Irish nationals.

This is also an opportunity to get in place any necessary IT systems designed for the secure processing and retention of increased digital checks or check that existing processes are fit for purpose. It is essential that a secure system is used, not only for data protection but also to maintain the statutory excuse, which may require your client at a later time to evidence that proper checks were completed at the time of recruitment.

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