It’s not a secret that employers must carry out a Right to Work (RTW) check on potential employees, and that Recruitment Companies must do so when introducing candidates to clients. Where we refer to employers in this blog, it applies equally to Recruitment Companies.

In theory, this has been made much easier by Digital Identity checks which have been permitted in the UK since April 2022. However, in order to allow organisations more time to prepare, the Government delayed the ‘go live’ date by 6 months until October 2022.

The checking systems were agreed by the Home Office following the wide implementation of such technology and verification methods during Covid-19. The Government said employers had sufficient time to develop relationships with the Identity Digital Service Providers (IDSPs) and make suitable changes to their pre-employment checking processes to carry out responsible on-boarding. The scheme allows employers to remotely verify the right to work status of British and Irish employees by using IDSPs.


Employers can check the validity of documents within minutes of candidates submitting. Even with these digital checks, fraudsters are still trying to gain employment unlawfully.

The current guidance includes two different ways of checking: the Digital Scheme is a check for holders on in-date UK and Irish passports; and Digital eVisa checks use Home office issued Sharecodes to prove eligibility for non-UK Nationals.

The Risks

Fraudulent passports or ID cards. The number of fakes identified increases on a yearly basis. In 2022, they made up 45% of all fake documents, up 6% from the previous year. Over half (55%) were British.

When making these physical ID checks, the risk is that candidates may physically present fraudulent evidence of their RTW eligibility in the hopes that you are not trained to spot fake documents as well as digital checks can.

What about IDPs?

The risk of fraud is significantly reduced when checks are performed by a certified Identity Service Provider (IDSP). These can provide expert guidance to guarantee the proof of identity is genuine.

Challenges and advantages

One of the challenges of using the IDSP is that the system requires in-date passports or visas. Roughly one in five job seekers won’t have an in-date passport so will be unable to interact with the digital system, meaning the only way to be deal with it would be to post the original document, or meet the employer face-to-face. The use of IDSP is thereby exacerbating the need to carry out enhanced due diligence when on-boarding and choosing who to contract with.

One of the benefits of using the Identity Digital Service Providers is that the speed, accuracy and flexibility of checks is improved, relieving the pressure on recruiters who would usually manually check identity documentation thereby relieving the potential for human error. Digital Identity checks can further improve productivity by providing a better experience for the employee. They also ensure a higher level of security and has sped up the on-boarding process.

Using IDSPs also prevents individuals from handling and storing sensitive information unsafely.

So, not only is it faster and fairer, as manual screening can often disproportionately impact low-income individuals and communities of colour, it can save time and money.

That said, ensuring employers recruiters meet the requirements of enhanced DBS and ID checks is still a complicated area; and extra due diligence and care is necessary while maintaining compliance and quality.

If you would like any further information about RTW checks generally, or anything specifically mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Lucy Tarrant at