The Home Office has announced a new digital identity checking system for use by landlords and employers to prevent abuse of the UK immigration system. According to a press release published on the UK government’s official website, the technology will ‘make it quicker, safer and more convenient for landlords and employers to carry out right to rent and work checks’.
The new system will be effective from 6 April, 2022 and certified identity service providers (IDSPs) will be able to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to carry out right to work checks and right to rent checks on behalf of UK and Irish citizens.
The IDSPs will enable people to verify their identity remotely and prove their eligibility to work in the UK and rent accommodation, which will help to reduce the cost of recruitment and letting processes, according to the Home Office. Meanwhile, the same process is being implemented for DBS pre-employment checks.
Employers and landlords to benefit
The Home Office claims that the new digital identity checking system will ‘slash the working time and hours spent by landlords and employers making checks’ because those using IDSPs will no longer have to physically examine documents.
It’s understood that IDSPs will also be able to carry out right to rent and right to work checks at scale on behalf of landlords and employers – for example, large recruitment intakes when high numbers of new employees are hired.
UK immigration right to work and right to rent checks are considered key measures by the Home Office in the fight against illegal immigration. The new system will form part of Home Secretary, Priti Patel’s, New Plan for UK Immigration and the move toward a more digital UK immigration system.
Right to rent and right to work checks are used as a deterrent to stop people without a legal UK immigration status from working and accessing accommodation, as well as supporting efforts to tackle those who exploit vulnerable migrants for cheap labour or housing them in poor accommodation.
Remote working practices
UK immigration minister, Kevin Foster, said: “Online checks make it quicker, easier and more secure for employers and landlords to carry out right to rent and right to work checks and stop those looking to abuse our immigration system. Plus, the new system will better support remote working practices.”
Julia Lopez, the Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, said: “We are determined to seize the potential of new technology to boost the economy and make people’s lives easier.”
“Trusted and secure ways for people to confidently verify themselves online will be a game-changer and offer an alternative to time-consuming and complex paper-based processes. I’m delighted people will now be able to take advantage of our new digital identity trust framework to prove their eligibility to work, rent, or undergo criminal record checks,” she added.
Revolutionise UK hiring
Meanwhile, the Group Director for recruitment agency Reed, Keith Rosser, said: “Digital innovation to a previously manual process will revolutionise the way UK employers hire, operate, and structure their business in future. Digital right to work checks are more secure and faster meaning as we build back better from the pandemic, UK hiring will be quicker and safer.”
“The use of technology means companies across the UK can hire from any talent pool regardless of location aiding the levelling up agenda and helping UK companies compete internationally,” Rosser added.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a right to rent grace period for EU citizens expired in the summer of 2021, meaning that all EU nationals would be subject to right to rent checks following Brexit.
While in April last year, the Home Office issued new guidance on what UK employers should do when carrying out right to work checks on EEA nationals and their family members in the post-Brexit era.
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