What is IDVT and what is its purpose?
When will IDVT be available?
What will using IDVT cost?
Will manual right to work checks still be allowed?


The Home Office has published preliminary information on the new technology that employers will be able to use to make digital right to work checks for employees who are currently outside the scope of the existing online systems.(1)

What is IDVT and what is its purpose?

During the pandemic, the Home Office introduced adjusted right to work checks, which have assisted employers to carry out their right to work checking responsibilities without having to handle physical documents. This has been well-received by employers, but the downside of the process is an increased risk of individuals being able to use fraudulent documents to secure employment.

Due to the permanent trend towards hybrid and remote working and pressure from employers, in September 2021 the Home Office agreed that it would be appropriate to end adjusted right to work checks after 5 April 2022, once a more secure long-term solution is in place to facilitate remote manual checks without the need for physical document handling (for further details please see "Carrying out adjusted right to work checks up to 5 April 2022").

Identity document validation technology (IDVT) is the digital tool that the Home Office intends to make available after adjusted right to work checks end. The new tool will allow individuals who are not able to access existing online right to work checks, such as British and Irish citizens, to upload images of their physical right to work documents and have these analysed remotely to verify their identity.

IDVT will also be used to carry out right to rent and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.

The tool will be offered by one or more private sector identity service providers, which will have to apply for and receive certification under the government's UK digital identity and attributes trust framework. Details of the certification process are due to be released later this month.

When will IDVT be available?

Enabling legislation is due to be in effect from 6 April 2022; this is the earliest date the technology can go live.

Intending service providers will only have a short timeframe to complete the certification process, and it is not yet known whether the technology itself will be ready to deploy by 6 April 2022. If IDVT is not ready on time, it is highly likely that adjusted checks may be extended.

What will using IDVT cost?

Although it seems clear that individuals will interact with the tool to upload their documents, no details have been provided yet on how employers will access it, and what the cost will be. It seems most likely that any cost will be borne by employers.

The use of private sector identity service providers and a user-pays system is likely to prove controversial as it will create a two-tier system of free online right to work checks and paid-for IDVT checks.

Will manual right to work checks still be allowed?

On 17 December 2021, the Home Office confirmed that it will not be possible to do manual right to work checks on biometric residence permits, biometric residence cards and frontier worker permits after 5 April 2022 (for further details please see "Changes to right to work checks from 6 April 2022").

It is not yet clear what other changes to manual right to work checks will be made due to the introduction of IDVT, including whether there will still be the option to carry out a manual check where right to work can be verified using IDVT. It would seem sensible to retain this capability, particularly if using IDVT will incur a charge.

In the first instance, details of the regulations due to come into effect from 6 April 2022 will need to be published and examined; however, the general trend at the Home Office is to move towards using digital processes wherever possible (for further details please see "Digitalisation trends in immigration").

For further information on this topic please contact Supinder Singh Sian, Andrew Osborne, Li Xiang or Tom McEvoy at Lewis Silkin by telephone (+44 20 7074 8000‚Äč) or email ([email protected], [email protected]m, [email protected] or [email protected]). The Lewis Silkin website can be accessed at www.lewissilkin.com.

Endnotes

(1) Further information is available here.