Digital right to work checks extended until April 2022, in a victory for the online economy

Right to work checks on a digital basis have been extended to April 2022, in a historic  victory for campaigners who said reverting to physical checks would be highly damaging.

In an update, the Home Office says “positive feedback” about the covid-forced ‘adjusted’ checks (which permit end-users to check a candidate’s ID remotely), has convinced them to scrap the September 1st resumption of in-person checks.

Significantly, despite rising covid cases in the UK, the department did not attribute the resurgence of coronavirus to its decision to extend the digital checks until April 5th 2022.

'Critical'

Digital right to work checks campaigner Keith Rosser explained to Contractor UK earlier this month that the Home Office had started switching on to the multiple benefits of online hiring.

But the department subsequently posted an information video for employers, strongly indicating physical checks would return, given two extensions already of virtual checks.  

“Digital right to work checks have been critical for helping the Levelling Up agenda, driving Build Back Better, and helping with the current UK staffing crisis,” Mr Rosser posted yesterday, welcoming the extension.

'New digital solution'

In line with his assessment, the Home Office says the government’s aim is to introduce a “new digital solution,” following a review into the available tech to support a digital system.

The envisioned system is intended to cover the “many [job candidates] who are unable to use the Home Office online checking service, including UK and Irish citizens,”

Posted yesterday, the update adds. “This will enable checks to continue to be conducted remotely but with enhanced security.”

'Common sense prevailed'

James Reed, chairman of Reed, the recruitment group reflected: “[So it looks like] just one more push to make digital right to work checks a permanent feature of the workplace. Which they should be.”

Ken Steers, a director at Cordant Group, another multi-sector recruiter, said he was pleased that “common sense has prevailed,” ahead of a “final battle” to cover all hires in the UK with digital checks.

But that battle won’t need to be fought immediately. “[It’s] nice to move away from the one or two month extensions,” said Mr Rosser, chair of the Better Hiring Institute.

“[The Home Office announcement affords] a significant period of time to influence a permanent digital solution. For businesses and workers alike, [digital checks] provide far greater opportunities for workers to live and work remotely.”

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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