The new ‘Digital right to work check’ – everything you need to know

The process of running essential pre-employment checks is all set to become much quicker and simpler this year, with the launch of the digital right to work (RTW) check.

From April 6th, 2022, UK businesses can access the online system to assess whether their prospective recruits have the correct credentials to work in the UK.

It follows a campaign led by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) to make digital assessment the default process over the pre-Covid method, which involved physically handling a candidate’s documents to ascertain their work validity.

 Out with the old, in with the new

When the Covid pandemic took hold, digital means for checking an employee’s right to work quickly replaced the original method for gathering and analysing physical documents. Initially, this was considered only a temporary measure, yet when the virus showed no sign of moving on, the REC pushed the case to make it a permanent fixture.

And with the growth in hybrid and work-from-home models gaining pace throughout the pandemic, with more staff than ever before working remotely, the system could not have arrived at a better time.

This will appear a positive leap forward for many professionals working in recruitment with the system tipped to reduce the time and cost of hiring significantly. Indeed, when many have raised their concerns about the current difficulty in hiring – the complexities of a reduced talent pool due to Brexit and the current reluctance of workers to move jobs – anything to help improve the hiring process is bound to be well received.

Progress comes at a price

It is not without criticism, of course, with some commercial business owners concerned about the ongoing cost of implementing and using the system. When many already feel stretched by the impact of the pandemic, too – plus the inflation and National Insurance – and having to fund new technology is a bitter pill to swallow.

It is a point heard in full by the REC, who has stressed the cruciality of making the system accessible to all manner of companies – not only large entities – and kept at the same low price-point for everyone. Hopefully, the hundreds of thousands of checks made each day in the UK are sufficient to warrant its costs keeping to a minimum.

More than likely, the many smaller firms who use a temporary workforce over permanent recruits will benefit from the time saved processing documents digitally over physically, justifying the system’s initial outlay.

The system will apply to checks on UK citizens only, and employers will have the freedom to use various online resources to assess applicants currently based overseas.

You can read more about this story on the REC website

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