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New employer and landlord guides to ID checks


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The Home Office has released a draft copy of updated guidance for employers on right to work checks, to kick in from 6 April. The guidance doesn’t contain much we didn’t know about already, but just to reiterate the key changes: 

  1. For those with biometric work or residence permits, face-to-face checks will no longer be enough to establish a “statutory excuse” for employers. Those with biometric permits need to have their immigration status checked online.
  2. The Home Office will begin using “Identity Service Providers” (IDSPs) who will carry out “digital identity validation” for British and Irish citizens. IDSPs are essentially third parties who carry out the check (for which they charge a fee). 
  3. The adjusted right to work checks introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic remain in place until 30 September 2022 (extended from 6 April).

As an identity check – not just a check on someone’s immigration status – IDSP checks seem a little invasive. According to the guidance, IDSPs can establish your identity to a given “level of confidence”, which might even include information about any criminal record. This sounds spooky and obviously raises questions about data use and retention. 

For now, British and Irish employees can still opt for a manual passport check instead, but the doomers here at Free Movement wonder whether IDSPs may end up playing an increasingly significant role in the jobs market.

There is also new draft guidance for landlords on right to rent checks, mirroring the employer document.

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Larry Lock

Larry Lock

Larry works at Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. He previously managed the Prisons Project at Bail for Immigration Detainees, and was a senior caseworker in the immigration department at Wilson Solicitors LLP.