Why Right to Work Checks Matter to the Recruitment Industry?

It is claimed that time-pressed recruiters take just six seconds on average to scan a CV. When it comes to checking a candidate’s relevant ID documents, one suspects the time spent validating the document is similar.

As Right to Work compliance continues to be high on the agenda within the recruitment sector, it's important to have comprehensive due diligence processes in place to avoid legislative headaches, as well as potential fines and to reduce the odds of fraudulent documents being used to misrepresent a candidate's credentials.

However, who should take responsibility for the complex and often resource-intensive process of undertaking an employee Right to Work check? Determining a worker’s Right to Work in the UK is a tricky issue.

Carrying out Right to Work Checks

Despite the government's increased focus on this area, along with the increase in the size of fines being imposed many businesses that employ a high volume, transient workers still lack appropriate processes to ensure they remain compliant.

As NorthRow's CEO, Adrian Black, explains in this short video, the problems large corporates and recruiters have when onboarding a modern workforce are significant.

The Home Office is also increasing ‘spot checks’ on firms, particularly in sectors with a high transient workforce, in the first quarter of 2017 there was over £40 million in fines issued and over 900 illegal immigrants caught working in the UK.

Given the fines are increasing and more and more illegal workers are getting caught, why are more UK businesses not taking appropriate steps needed to ensure compliance?

Who is Responsible?

Irrespective of size or sector, permanent or short-term staff, all employers are legally required to prevent the employment of illegal workers.

Similarly, when it comes to the recruitment sector, it is the agency’s responsibility to make relevant right to work checks on all workers. A company hiring full-time staff through a recruitment agency would normally expect the agency to have undertaken a full right-to-work check before sending them along for an interview, despite having to carry out their own right-to-work checks once they make the hire.

Any business that deals with a temporary workforce needs to be regularly auditing their own supply chain to ensure that Right to Work checks are being performed correctly.

Ensuring compliance is ultimately about protecting the reputation of the organisation you work for, whether that organisation employees directly or acts as a recruiter for other companies. All employers have a social responsibility to help stop illegal working in the UK.

The Administrative Burden of Manual Right to Work Checks

When it comes to recruiting; time is absolutely of the essence. Recruiters need to be hitting their targets in terms and processing candidates CVs and Identity Documents, the longer it takes to process candidate’s details the less likely they will meet their targets. Recruiters are not HR specialist and so are more likely to make errors when checking a Right to Work compliance.

Right to Work compliance is not easy - there are potentially 17 different documents that may need to be checked and a multitude of combinations that can validate a candidates Right to Work in the UK. The Home Office does offer guidance on the right documentation to ask for but it’s a labour and knowledge-intensive process that can be incredibly complex.

Furthermore, recruiters may not be aware of the precise steps that need to be followed to ensure compliance with Right to Work, when capturing, recording and importantly, interpreting identity documents. Ensuring that all relevant staff were trained and up-to-date with the latest Home Office legislation to correctly conduct ‘Right to Work’ checks is also costly, time-consuming and often ineffective.

To make matters even more difficult, there is a thriving market in counterfeit passports, national ID cards and residence permits. These fake documents are remarkably convincing, especially to the untrained eye of a recruitment or personnel staff not used to checking different forms of identity documents.

Many agencies currently rely on time-consuming, costly and manual processes such as photocopying ID documents and physically storing the files to try and adhere to the ever-changing and increasingly complex UK ‘Right to Work’ legislation. However, due to the sheer volume of identity documents that need to be checked, the logistical difficulties involved in managing Right to Work compliance is insurmountable for many recruiters.

How Can Technology Help?

NorthRow offers an automated document verification solution that checks, authenticates and retains candidates documentation whilst establishing their right to work in the UK.

The NorthRow solution is available as both a mobile app and a scanner, with the former better suited to clients who have disparate locations, and the latter best suited to those with high volumes, and more pressing needs to ensure complete confidence in the recruitment process.

The mobile app allows clients to check employee’s Right to Work status in real-time whilst on the move and is ideal for multi-site organisations. The passport scanner meanwhile, can help spot fraudulent documents and can deliver an effective and immediate decision on an ID document’s legitimacy by performing infrared scans as well as standard checks.