New Home Office Guidance on Identity Document Validation Technology for Employers

New Home Office Guidance on Identity Document Validation Technology for Employers

In recent months, the thriving illicit trade in counterfeit passports, national insurance cards and residence permits has been well documented, these counterfeit documents are being used to circumvent the Right To Work legislation that were introduced under the Immigration & Asylum Act of 1999.

Many of these fake documents are remarkably convincing, especially to the untrained eye of a letting agent, landlord, inexperienced recruitment or personnel staff not used to checking different forms of identity documents.

Increase in Counterfeit Documents

Widespread use of counterfeit documents raises questions about the impact on the UK economy and society in general – such as VISA overstayers, illegal workers, illegal immigrants and the resultant strain on institutions such as the NHS. Similarly, there are growing concerns about the comprehensiveness of checks in sectors of society where vulnerable people are being affected – such as schools, nursing homes, even hospitals – where junior staff may not have been subjected to thorough enough checks that validate their right to work.

In order to prevent widespread use and illegal trade in counterfeit documents, the British Government has developed new guidelines around the use of electronic document verification and validation.

New Home Office Guidance on Identity Document Validation Technology

On the 28th March 2018 following a period of consultation between Government and industry, the UK Home Office has published new guidance for employers on ‘Identity Document Validation Technology’ (IDVT) which replaces the previous ‘Guidance on the Use of Document Scanners.’

Publication of the guidance follows the discussion with the industry’s leading vendors, including NorthRow, system providers, scanner manufacturers, police and immigration officials.

This guidance addresses the use of scanner technology as an enabler in recognising and therefore preventing the use of bogus documents. The use of IDVTs is not intended to replace forgery professionals but is designed to offer higher levels of accuracy and assurance than manual checking alone.

New Home Office Guidelines

The new guidance outlines the value of IDVTs as part of a process to establish if an individual is eligible to:

  • Obtain employment or accommodation in the UK, as part of the right to work and Right to Rent check
  • Work in vulnerable sectors – for example where individual DBS check is required
  • Apply for benefits
  • Obtain financial services
  • Be charged for receiving NHS treatment
  • Receive other goods and services

What Does the Guidance Cover? 

It is a comprehensive document guidance which covers four key areas –

1/ General guidance on IDVT systems

2/ Choosing the right IDVT system

3/ Guidance on using IDVT

4/ Protecting IDVT from misuse.


In summary, it’s essential to recognise that while doing the checks is important, doing the right checks is vital. In most instances it is simply not feasible to engage with professionals to validate documents are not forgeries and thus IDVT solutions are viewed as valid substitutes to help crack down on abuses.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about the range of solutions NorthRow offer to help organisations with identity verification and right to Work validation please request a demo.

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