Right To Work In The UK

Explore our comprehensive guide covering every aspect of Right To Work checks. Get answers to all your questions and a clear understanding of the entire process. This is your go-to resource for seamless compliance.


What is a Right to Work check?

A Right To Work (RTW) Check is the legal requirement all employers have in the United Kingdom to check that the applicant has the legal right to work in the country. This must be done in line with Home Office regulations. Find out more here


Who sets the rules?

The Home Office – Right-to-work regulations are controlled by the Home Office and UK Visa Immigration Enforcement to verify the eligibility of every employee or casual worker to work in the UK before (legally) commencing their employment.


How do you conduct Right To Work Checks?

There are 2 options:

  1. Manual inspection (Face to face meeting with the potential employee and inspection of original documents)
  2. Use IDVT government approved technology.


There is a problem with the old method of manual inspection

The old method for conducting a right to work check involves inviting your candidate to your workplace and bringing along their passport, share Code or birth certificate. You would manually examine this document to confirm its authenticity and match it with the candidate’s identity. Following this, make a photocopy and (legally you must) retain it for a period of two years after your employee has left the organisation.

This method has its problems such as:

  • Manual Inspection: Manual examination of documents is prone to human error your staff probably haven’t had specialist training. It may be challenging to spot sophisticated forgeries or discrepancies. This leaves the employer vulnerable to identity fraud / theft.
  • Security Risks: Retaining physical photocopies of sensitive documents can pose security risks. These documents can be lost, stolen, or misused, potentially leading to identity theft or fraud.
  • GDPR: Candidates have the right to access, rectify, and erase their personal data. The old method might not provide a straightforward mechanism for individuals to exercise these rights.
  • Inconsistent Process: Manual processes can lead to inconsistencies in how checks are conducted, as different employees may interpret and implement the process differently.
  • Scalability Issues: This method is hugely time consuming and may not be scalable for organisations hiring a lot of staff. Imagine hiring 25 people and having to get them all into the office to meet them, check documents, file the evidence.
  • Environmental Impact: Creating physical photocopies requires lots of paper, photocopiers and ink which is not environmentally friendly. Also, it’s far from carbon-neutral getting people to travel to meet you for a manual check.


The benefits of using IDVT

There are several advantages to using IDVT, including:

  • Swift Onboarding: Bid farewell to manual document checks! IDVT employs OCR and facial recognition for a faster onboarding journey, ensuring efficient verification of customers and employees without the hassle.
  • Enhanced Security: Spotting counterfeit documents becomes a breeze with IDVT, offering heightened security. Safeguard your organisation against fraud, including identity theft and money laundering, with advanced detection capabilities.
  • Cost-Efficient Staffing: Say goodbye to the hefty costs of manual verification. IDVT software automates document authentication, slashing the need for extra staff and overtime expenses. Enjoy savings on recruitment and staff training.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Navigate the regulatory landscape seamlessly. IDVT aligns with key regulations, like the 2022 Trust Framework in the UK, shielding your organisation from penalties. Maintain a sterling reputation and credibility effortlessly.


What documents does a candidate need?

Within the Employment Check Pro system, a secure link can be sent to your candidates. For the check to be IDVT / DITF compliant, the candidate must upload a photo of: 

  • A UK Passport
  • An Irish passport
  • An Irish ID card


How long it takes to apply for a Right To Work Check?

EBC Global streamlines the process into a couple of clicks, just send a link to potential your employees. Once candidates upload their documents, the Right to Work check is swiftly performed within minutes, facilitating a quick and seamless experience. 

The processing time for British and Irish passports is typically between 5 to 10 minutes. Our service operates with a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees results within 4 hours, although in practice, responses often arrive even more promptly. 

For documents that do not adhere to the Document Integrity Testing Framework (DIATF) standards, the verification process is completed within 10 minutes. This commitment to efficiency ensures a swift and reliable experience for our users across various types of identification documents.Opting for the government website will result in a lengthier process, with checks taking days to return. EBC’s expedited verification process stands out as a time-saving advantage in comparison to our competitors.


The Final Right To Work Report

The final Right To Work report consists of a Summary of Checks, a Liveness report, an ID verification, UK DIATF (only applies if they use UK or Irish passport), and Home Office conditional RTW results (if applicable).

The Right To Work Check:

  • verifies applicant’s selfie for liveness.
  • validates the document using 9 different checks including:
    • biometric face-matching
    • age verification
    • police checks (lost, stolen, or compromised document)
    • government issued ID document.
  • validates an individual’s identity against the UK DIATF guidelines.
  • validates the application against the home office database to confirm Right To Work requirements.
Summary of Checks page from the Right To Work report generated by EBC Global.

Click here to view a comprehensive guide to our new and improved right to work report.


What checks are carried out on the right to work report?


Liveness checks are run to ensure an individual is live and present at the time of completing their IDV. We compare their selfie and UAP to the image we capture on their ID document to ensure they are the same person.

ID Verification

ID documents are captured to validate an individual’s identity, to ensure you that you are dealing with the correct person. We ask the individual to take a photograph of their biometric document and then use sophisticated image analysis to detect any tampering or manipulation.


Validates an individual’s identity against the UK DIATF guidelines and standards. This check will only be relevant for UK residents. The UK DIATF Verification only applies to UK and Irish passports for Right to Work 

Right To Work

Verifies that the individual has the right to work in the UK, in line with Home Office requirements. If the RTW is conditional there will be an additional fourth page in the report containing the home office results stating the exceptions and circumstances. 

Right To Work Results – Combinations

Right To Work - Example Results Combinations


Who needs to complete the check?

All employers in the UK have a legal responsibility to carry out checks on every employee that joins their company, it is every employer’s duty to prevent illegal working! You do this by conducting right-to-work checks before you employ someone in line with Home Office guidance. 


The Main Benefits Of Employment Check Pro

Right To Work checks via EBC Global offer significant advantages over traditional methods or other IDSP service providers, and Employment Check Pro enhances the process in various ways:

  • Real-time Tracking: Track the progress of multiple checks with real-time updates.
  • Instant Notifications: Receive notifications when checks are completed.
  • Automated Results: Results/reports are automatically uploaded into EC Pro or returned via API.
  • Remote Verification: No need to meet the applicant in person or view original documents for IDVT qualifying documents.
  • UK DIATF Certification: Certified to level 4, the highest government accreditation among service providers.
  • Efficient Process: Send a secure link to the employee, requiring just 60 seconds to complete.
  • Comprehensive Verification: Verify document authenticity, expiry date, and conduct police database checks.
  • Facial Recognition: Ensure a match between the selfie and passport/document image, confirming the person’s identity.
  • Home Office Connectivity: Connect to the Home Office database for Sharecodes.
  • Instant Reporting: Receive an instant report covering 20+ document and verification checks.
  • Approved Technology: Utilise Home Office-approved technology (IDSP).
  • Secure Data Storage: Securely store reports on Employment Check Pro for 2 years post-employment.
  • Audit Trail: Maintain a full audit trail to track when checks were applied and received.
  • Re-check Reminders: Receive reminders for re-checks, including expiring share codes.
  • ISO 27001 Compliance: Adhere to the ISO 27001 standard for information security.
  • Versatility: Use the same check for DBS document verification, enhancing overall efficiency and compliance.


How long are Right To Work Checks valid for?

A British/Irish passport used for a RTW that comes back with a ‘green light’ is valid for the entire period they are employed with your organisation.

Share codes may be time sensitive and must be tracked by the employer. If there is an expiry date you must check the employee again before this date as their RTW status may have changed.

  • Civil Penalties: Failure to carry out proper Right to Work checks in the UK can lead to civil penalties. Employers may be fined £20,000 for each illegal worker employed.
  • Criminal Charges: In severe cases, employers might face criminal charges if they knowingly employ individuals without the legal right to work.
  • Loss of Statutory Excuse: Employers may lose the statutory excuse against liability if they fail to conduct the required Right to Work checks. 
  • Revocation of Sponsorship License: Employers who are sponsors for skilled workers may face the revocation of their sponsorship license for not complying with immigration rules and Right to Work regulations.
  • Impact on Reputation: Non-compliance can result in reputational damage, affecting the company’s standing and relationships with clients, partners, and the public.
  • Legal Action by Regulatory Authorities: Regulatory authorities, such as the Home Office, may initiate legal actions and investigations into the workplace, leading to additional consequences.
  • Ineligibility for Public Contracts: Companies found in breach of immigration laws, including Right to Work requirements, may become ineligible for public contracts and government-related work.
  • Financial Impact: Apart from civil penalties, legal proceedings and associated costs can result in a significant financial impact on the organisation.

To find out more about penalties for employing illegal workers, please click here.


What causes delays with Right To Work Checks?

If the applicant completes the process quickly, there are usually no delays in the background check. However, in some cases, certain factors can impact the processing time. For instance, if the applicant’s documentation is incomplete or requires further verification, it may take additional time to gather all the necessary information and complete the check. Additionally, if the applicant has a complex background or extensive work history, this can also contribute to a longer processing period as the verification process may require more thorough examination.

Regarding sharecodes, they involve a separate step in the process due to the nature of their collection. Sharecodes are typically obtained through an API, which means that extra time is required to fetch this information from an external source. This additional step aims to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data provided. While this can lead to a slightly longer processing time compared to other types of information, it is an important measure to ensure the integrity of the background check results.

Overall, the duration of the background check process can vary depending on several factors, such as the completeness of the applicant’s information and the complexity of their background. However, by swiftly completing the necessary steps and providing all the required documentation, applicants can help expedite the process and minimise any potential delays.


Level 4 Government DIATF 

EBC Global is now a tier 1 partner of the only IDSP that has level 4 government UK DIATF! This upgrade to our tier 1 partnership means that our right to work reports now provide enhanced convenience, faster results, and compliance.


For further information or questions please contact: info@ebcglobal.co.uk, our dedicated team will be able to assist you.

To find out how our Right To Work solution can benefit you and your business, please book a meeting with our sales team.



Which right to work documents are acceptable

To confirm identity for Right to Work (RTW) checks using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT), only the specified documents listed below are accepted:

  • Valid British passports
  • Valid Irish passports
  • Valid Irish passport cards

For employers to rely on an IDVT identity check conducted by an Identity Document Service Provider (IDSP) to demonstrate eligibility for RTW checks and secure a legal excuse, and individuals must provide a valid British or Irish passport (including passport cards) to the IDSP. The IDSP will then use IDVT to verify identity.

If an individual uses an expired British or Irish passport (including passport cards) to prove eligibility for RTW checks, an IDVT check is not considered valid. In such cases, the employer must conduct a manual check of the original document to obtain a legal excuse.


Can right to work checks be done virtually

Yes, it is possible to conduct digital right to work checks for prospective employees holding a valid UK or Irish passport. One reliable solution for such checks is Employment Check Pro. By using this software, employers can efficiently verify the work eligibility of potential hires.

Digital right to work checks have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and efficiency. They eliminate the need for physical document handling and reduce the chances of errors or document forgery. With Employment Check Pro, employers can streamline the entire process by leveraging the power of technology.


Can you use a share code for right to work?

A share code serves as a personal identifier verifying an individual’s immigration status. If you are not a British or Irish citizen, you can demonstrate your right to work by either obtaining a share code online or presenting your immigration documents.

Your employer can use the share code to check:

  • the types of job you’re allowed to do in the UK
  • how long you can work in the UK for


What is a certified IDSP provider?

An IDSP or Identity Service Provider is a business that offers identity verification through a range of methods including using biometric facial recognition, machine reading and NFC technology.

Over the last few years, IDV technology has been widely adopted across multiple industries playing a vital role in combating fraud and money laundering. Due to this widespread adoption and the varying degrees of capabilities between vendors, the UK Government developed a new Digital Identities and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF) that set out clear standards IDSP should adhere to.

The Trust Framework also introduced a new accreditation programme that allowed IDSPs to be independently assessed against the standard and be awarded certification if successful. All certified IDSPs can be found on the Gov website allowing businesses to easily choose a suitable supplier.


Can an IDSP get a home office online report on my behalf?

The Home Office’s guidance states that an employer will only establish a statutory excuse against prosecution where they have obtained the Right to Work Report from the Home Office Online Service using a Share Code provided by the employee. Where an IDSP obtains the report on an employer’s behalf, the employer will not establish a statutory excuse.


Additional Resources

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