Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Extend digital right to work checks until permanent solution in place, urges REC

The Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) has written to the Home Office urging them to take quick action to delay the return of in-person right to work (RTW) checks, and retain the temporary digital checks until a permanent digital solution has been developed.

Digital RTW checks have been in place since March 2020 and have been a resounding success during the pandemic – allowing people to quickly and safely get into work, especially in rural areas and for remote workers. However, this temporary measure is due to expire on 1 September and employers will be required to do in-person checks again.

In the letter, written to the Minister for Immigration Compliance and Justice Chris Philp MP, the REC calls this “an unnecessary step backwards” and “counterproductive, particularly in the face of the unprecedented worker shortages in many sectors”.

The Home Office is currently developing a permanent digital process, but this will take time and given the serious labour shortages across the economy, it is essential that digital RTW checks are kept in place in the meantime.

Neil Carberry, Chief Executive of the REC, said:

“We appreciate that the digital checks introduced last year were only intended to be a temporary solution to problems posed by the pandemic. But the balance and the shape of the labour market has changed – hybrid and remote working are much more common, new technologies have been adopted by millions of workers and businesses, and the recruitment process should reflect this. Digital right to work checks have been a huge success over the past 18 months, and will be crucial in getting people into work quickly during these unprecedented staff shortages. It makes complete sense to retain these digital checks while the Home Office develops a more permanent system, and we are happy to engage with them further on this.”