News story

New digital identity checking for landlords and employers to tackle immigration abuse

The new technology will make it quicker, safer and more convenient for landlords and employers to carry out right to rent, right to work and DBS identity checks.

Landlords, letting agents and employers will be able to use certified new technology to digitally carry out vital right to work and right to rent checks aimed to crack down on abuse of the immigration system.

The government has announced that, from 6 April, certified identity service providers (IDSPs) will be able to use Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to conduct right to work checks and right to rent checks on behalf of British and Irish citizens.

IDSPs allow people to verify their identity remotely and prove their eligibility to work or rent, which will reduce the costs of recruitment and letting processes. The same process is being enabled for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) pre-employment checks.

Working time and hours spent undertaking the checks will be slashed as landlords and employers who use an IDSP will no longer need to physically examine documents. IDSPs will also be able to carry out checks on behalf of employers and landlords at scale, for example in large recruitment campaigns when a high number of new employees are recruited.

The right to rent and work schemes are a key measure to tackle and deter illegal immigration, as part of the government’s New Plan for Immigration and move to a digital immigration system.

They are intended to prevent individuals without lawful immigration status in the UK from working and accessing accommodation, as well as supporting efforts to tackle those who exploit vulnerable migrants, often housing them in very poor conditions.

Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, 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.

These changes will make the checks more secure, quicker to do and will better support remote working practices.

Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, 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.

Keith Rosser, Group Director, Reed 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.

Further details on how organisations become certified is available here.

Published 19 January 2022