Combatting Right to Work fraud: What recruiters should look out for

Applicants without the right to work in the UK will go to great lengths to secure employment, both directly and, increasingly, through recruiters and recruitment agencies. As a government-certified Identity Service Provider (IDSP), TrustID collates statistical evidence of fraudulent identity documentation we detect for our customers. We regularly see trends emerge and change as regulations tighten up.

Although temporary recruiters aren’t legally obliged to carry out Right to Work (RtW) checks, many do so to avoid potentially putting someone forward who isn’t eligible to work in the UK. The increasing use of digital technology makes detection easier and helps protect recruiters and their clients, but fraudsters still attempt to gain employment in the new ‘digital world’.

The first thing to note is that current guidance includes two types of ‘digital’ checks. There are digital checks for holders of in-date UK and Irish passports and digital eVisa checks for non-UK/Irish nationals. The latter use share codes issued by the Home Office to demonstrate proof of eligibility. Both kinds of digital checks are on the receiving end of the fraudsters’ attention.

Fake documents are on the rise

Last year, for TrustID customers falsified UK and Irish passports made up 45% of all fake documents presented for RtW checks. This was up 6% over 2021 figures. Over half (55%) of those were British. Other Irish documents were second at 20%, with Irish passport cards accounting for most of those as they are easier to counterfeit than a passport.

Holders of fake UK and Irish documents know that if their identity check is successful, they can gain employment without the need for a follow-up check. Fortunately, these documents are full of security features which IDVT checks can quickly and robustly validate.

Imposter attacks

Since EU ID cards and Biometric Residence Permits were removed from the eligible RtW document list, fraudulent applicants have increasingly switched to trying to prove their eligibility to work in the UK using the eVisa scheme. Under this scheme, digital checks are performed using a Home Office-issued share code. This type of fraud has a different profile. Imposters obtain a genuine share code and try to disguise themselves as the holder. They’re usually caught out when they are compared with the image on the Home Office database, which is why a certified-IDSP system will ask for a selfie of the applicant at the same time as checking the share code.

Another threat comes from fraudulent applicants who present the physical documentation. Not all RtW checks have to be done digitally, and here the fraudster’s intention is that staff will not be trained to spot fake documentation in the same way digital checks can. Recruiters cannot be expert in identifying faked identity documents from every country in the world, after all.

Could you spot a fake ID?

In a TrustID survey of over 100 HR and recruitment professionals, 42% of respondents thought it likely that a candidate could present a fake proof of ID, but only a third of people said they were very confident when identifying a fake document.

Whether you are checking physical documents or using digital options, it’s essential to ensure that your applicant matches the person whose identification document you are checking. Identity validation services from an IDSP like TrustID can help, thanks to sophisticated technology that registers liveness and face matching by analysing a selfie against the image of your applicant. And the beauty of this is that it is quite frictionless, so protecting your recruitment business and client relationships from fraudsters doesn’t make life difficult for legitimate candidates.

If you’d like to find out more about how TrustID can help Recruiters streamline Right to Work checks and remain compliant, visit our website.

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