The UK Home Office has taken another step to discourage illegal immigration and transition to a fully digital immigration system. 

From 6 April 2022, landlords, letting agents, and employers will be able to perform online checks on a worker’s identity, work rights, rent rights, and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) pre-employment status. 

According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, this will “enable digital identity checking within their criminal record checking process, through the introduction of its Identity Trust Scheme”. 

Minister of State for Media, Data, and Digital Infrastructure, Julia Lopez, said: “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.”

To achieve this, landlords and employers will be using a new digital identity document validation technology (IDVT) through certified identity service providers (IDSPs) that will free them from physically examining the documents themselves. Instead, they will resort to the United Kingdom’s digital identity and attributes trust framework. “We are determined to seize the potential of new technology to boost the economy and make people’s lives easier”, added Julia Lopez.

From April 2022, landlords and employers can remotely know if one or more candidates recruited are enabled to work or rent in the United Kingdom in record time. “These changes will make the checks more secure, quicker to do, and will better support remote working practices”, said Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster. 

This is especially important in an era where people can hire talents from all parts of the world and work remotely. According to Keith Rosser from REED, the largest recruitment business in the world, this can make British companies more competitive at an international level. 

“Digital innovation to a previously manual process will revolutionize the way UK employers hire, operate, and structure their business in the future. Digital right to work checks are more secure and faster meaning as we build back better from the pandemic, UK hiring will be quicker and safer”, opined Rosser, which has the position of Group Director at the UK-based, family-owned employment agency.

On the other hand, the British government stated that these measures are meant to deter illegal immigration by dissuading undocumented individuals from working and renting properties in the United Kingdom, but also to avoid the abuse and exploitation of such migrants. 

The measures are part of the British government’s New Plan for Immigration, which was announced in May 2021. 

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