How do the New Digital Right To Work Changes Affect Me?

(3 minutes to read)

There have been significant changes to Right To Work (RTW) checks over the last couple of years and now the process is having a landmark overhaul from the 1st of October 2022. This means that all organisations need to ensure that they are ready for the changes, as failing to carry them out correctly could put your business at risk.

What are Right To Work (RTW) checks?

Right To Work checks help to prevent illegal working.

All businesses will need to carry out an RTW check on every person they intend to employ before hiring them to certify that they are legally allowed to carry out the work offered to them.

It involves checking a person’s documents, ensuring that they definitely belong to the person, that they are genuine, and haven’t been tampered with in any way; as well as looking for consistency across photographs and dates of birth.

You’ll also need to check for things like expiry dates for permission to be in the country for those who have not been born in the UK – workers in this situation will also need a follow-up check to ensure that they’re still within their allowed timeframe to carry out work in the UK.

Examples of the type of documents accepted for RTW checks include:

  • A passport (current or expired) – showing the holder is a British citizen/an Irish citizen/endorsed to show the holder has no time limit in the UK/endorsed to show the holder is allowed to stay in the UK and is currently allowed to do the type of work in question.
  • A birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent NI number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.
  • A current Immigration Status Document.

How the pandemic impacted Right To Work checks

The Covid-19 pandemic certainly changed our everyday lives, both from a personal and work perspective.

During this time, when we found ourselves in lockdowns and keeping our distance from other people, the world of work had to adapt and make changes in order for certain things to continue to run smoothly.

One of those things was Right To Work checks.

Previously this had to be completed in person, however, as mentioned above, keeping your distance and not gathering among too many people was a priority, and so RTW checks became digital.

Temporary rules were introduced, which meant for the first time ever checks were carried out over video calls and job applicants were able to send a photo of their documents to employers via email.

Managing RTW checks digitally proved to be a success and so the government made the decision to make it permanent, however, additional rules are being put into place in order to reduce the risk of fraud.

What do I need to know about the changes?

There may be many businesses that are not prepared for these changes, this is perhaps because digital checks have been in place for a while now and so employers might not be aware that rules have been slightly altered.

From the 1st of October 2022, all UK businesses will need to ensure that:

  • They use government certified Identity Service providers (IDSPs) to complete digital RTW checks.
  • Digital checks will require the submission of images of personal documents using certified ID validation technology. Any other method will not be accepted.
  • Records will need to be kept for up to two years after an employee leaves the business.

Failing to comply with these new rules can result in serious consequences, such as:

  • A civil penalty of up to £20,000 (per non-compliant check).
  • Losing the ability to sponsor work visa applications for foreign nationals. Criminal convictions in serious cases.

Hopefully this page has answered some of your questions on RTW, but if you have any further queries, our team of experts are available to help, so give us a call on 01442 795 100 or email

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