With the return of in-person Right to Work checks set to resume from 17th May, there are urgent calls for a delay, especially as the current guidance is still to work from home if you can.
The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) expressed disappointment when it was revealed that Right to Work checks would be reverting back to in-person instead of the remote video checks that were put in place due to Covid.
Now, the APSCo has written to the Home Secretary to highlight major concerns over both the date of the change and the decision to dispense with the Covid remote video checks that have worked so well over the last year.
Tania Bowers, APSCo’s Legal Counsel and Head of Public Policy, commented, “The short deadline for the return to in-person checks is a real concern given that we are expecting the Government ‘work from home if you can’ advice to remain in place into June – introducing face to face checks when people are still working remotely is simply unworkable.
“Additionally, we had hoped that the Home Office would prioritise the expansion of digital checks – a process much more suitable for the modern world of flexible work – it also flies in the face of the Home Office’s ‘digital by design’ concept.”
Specialist background screening and identity services firm, Sterling, has also voiced concerns, warning that the timing isn’t in line with overall plans to re-open offices.
Steve Smith, Managing Director EMEA, Sterling, added, “The timing of this decision is arguably too soon when we consider that Covid-restrictions are still in place and some offices won’t be re-opening until the summer. With limitations as to where and when in-person checks can be carried out in a Covid-safe way, the RTW process itself will become increasingly time-heavy, impacting some workers’ start dates, which won’t be conducive to supporting the economic recovery.
“Perhaps more importantly, though, we feel that the success of the remote RTW check process throughout the pandemic shouldn’t be overlooked. While we recognise that in-person checks may be necessary when the time is right, the progress that has been made through utilising technology can improve the process and better identify fraud in the future, and this opportunity shouldn’t be missed. Many companies have built digital and biometric identity checks into their screening programmes which has in turn decreased the potential of identity fraud – progress that should be built upon.
“The work that went into getting the RTW share code process in place has also proven highly valuable over the last 18 months and the tool has, in many instances, streamlined the RTW process itself. We do recognise that in-person is sometimes a necessity, but a complete return to pre-pandemic processes would undo the fantastic developments we’ve seen in the employment screening world and we urge the Government to consider a possible hybrid approach.”
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