By: Steve Smith Managing Director, EMEA at Sterling.
Right to Work (RTW) checks have long been known as cumbersome and lengthy tasks for both employers and the individuals they’re hiring. However, the Home Office has recently confirmed the permanent switch to digital identity for Right to Work checks, which has been music to the ears of many businesses. This move to digital verification is set to take place from April 2022 and represents a huge advancement in background screening and identity verification.
The pandemic has undoubtedly caused mass disruption to everyone, but it has also led to the acceleration of technology, which, in this circumstance, is exactly what was needed. It means that firms can now carry out secure and consistent digital identity checks while supporting the modern workforce and remote hiring. How will this affect how you recruit for your business?
How digitalisation will help you hire
The UK’s national skills shortage has been widely documented throughout the media, making the competition to secure top talent fiercer than ever. Eliminating the need to physically verify documents will remove the usual lengthy process and enable applicants to instantly upload their documents onto their device of choice. This simplification delivers a smoother experience for the candidate, ultimately improving their experience and preventing them from becoming disengaged during the hiring process.
An additional benefit of this move will be the expansion of talent pools. With the need for in-person checks eliminated, hiring managers will not have the same geographical restrictions that they once had.
Digital Identification also supports a safer compliance programme. With the rise of sophisticated fraudulent documents, it has become increasingly difficult to spot what’s real and what is fake. The removal of in-person checks eliminates the chance of human error and improves the ability to spot fraud. This was shown to be a high priority among the employers and hiring professionals that joined a recent webinar we hosted with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), with 41% stating that the most significant benefit of digital identity is safer, and more accurate checks.
A streamlined process
While the traditional method of checking criminal records and verifying identification required a lot of documentation and presentation of evidence, the new process is much more streamlined, without risking over-complication.
The aim of Digital Identity screening is to make the process easier and more secure for all involved. To achieve this, an identity service provider will act as the go-between for the applicant and the registered body. This revised ‘one touchpoint’ process removes the need for the documentation to also be verified by the employer, saving valuable time for all parties.
Given the digitalisation of these checks, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sophisticated technology will be involved. The good news is that applicants are only required to download an app on their phones. The sophisticated aspect of the process includes cryptographic security features which mean that elements such as the chip on an e-passport can be detected via a smartphone, enabling accurate verification of documents.
Additional software is also used to verify if the individual taking a selfie is really a person, not just a photo of another photo. Essentially, facial recognition technology is used to take a series of images that confirm if the person is real. For example, it will check that they are moving, breathing and blinking in between photos.
When the applicant submits the required photos, the address and name of the individual can be verified by an appropriate body within minutes. This technology can be used by anyone, anywhere in the world, so non-UK nationals can also be screened quickly and efficiently.
While we predict an initial adjustment period as businesses and candidates learn to use Digital Identity, in the longer term, employers will see significant benefits. The confirmation of this shift from the Home Office was a game-changer in the world of employment screening, and we’re looking forward to being part of this change.