Right to work: Government to launch virtual identification scheme to support employers

A new digital identity scheme will help employers carry out right to work checks, it has been announced.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport said new employees will be able to prove their identity using digital methods “easily and quickly” instead of having to rely on traditional physical documents.

Known as “digital identities”, the scheme will introduce “trusted and secure” virtual identification, reducing the time, effort and expense that sharing physical documents – such as passports and driving licences – can take when people need to provide legal proof of who they are.

Employers could use the scheme to support workers in completing right to work checks, while solicitors could use virtual identification to ensure that clients are who they say they are.

Supermarkets could also take advantage of the scheme to identify people who need to prove they are over 18 to buy age-restricted goods.
The move will also help protect the data of individuals sharing sensitive information, such as their address, date of birth, and identification number, by making it harder for criminals to obtain and use stolen identities.

According to the latest statistics, more than five million individual cases of fraud were reported to UK authorities in the year ending September 2021.

Commenting on the scheme, Data Minister Julia Lopez said: “The legislation we’re proposing will ensure that there are trusted and secure ways for people and organisations to use digital identities, should they choose to.”

Heather Wheeler, Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, added: “The government is delivering a number of ambitious and interlinked policy initiatives to prepare the UK for the digital world, and to improve the lives of businesses and citizens.

“These initiatives, alongside enabling legislation, will help ensure the UK is able to take full advantage of the opportunities that digital identities and the wider digital economy have to offer.”

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