From 6 April, businesses looking to take on new members of staff will have to use approved software to onboard them remotely, the government has announced.
Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, organisations have been able to carry out digital checks of a person’s right to work in the UK, rather than having to check physical documents.
While the temporary regime has now been made permanent, the Home Office has decided to outsource digital ID checking to approved third-party software suppliers (from 6 April 2022).
It means businesses face having to pay up to £70 per employee to verify a new starter’s identity as the government privatises digital ID checking.
Employers braced for ‘big change’ to onboarding
Louisa Cole from Eversheds Sutherland said their company research found that these ID checks were likely to cost between £1.50 to £70 per prospective employee.
“It is a big change for employers because the cost is on them to purchase this technology and to put it in place. For large employers if they are onboarding large numbers of people it’s going to add a huge cost to their budget,” she said.
The ID-checking software providers have yet to be approved yet, despite the new scheme going live in less than three months’ time.
Government expect ‘game-changing’ difference
Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “We are determined to seize the potential of new technology to boost the economy and make people’s lives easier.
“Trusted and secure ways for people to confidently verify themselves online will be a game-changer and offer an alternative to time-consuming and complex paper-based processes.
“I’m delighted people will now be able to take advantage of our new digital identity trust framework to prove their eligibility to work, rent, or undergo criminal record checks.”
Employers can be fined up to £20,000 per new employee if they knowingly hire illegal workers using fake or borrowed ID.