New rules around identity checking also affect law firms

AmiqusBy Legal Futures Associate Amiqus

Changes have come to essential right to work checks, conducted when hiring new staff into your firm.

As a UK employer, you likely go through the time-consuming and effortful process of verifying your employees’  right to work in the UK. You may be doing so with manual processes or with digital ones. But did you know that the rules around this verification process have now changed?

From the 1st of October 2022, you have been required to check your staff’s right to work by using a certified Identity Service Provider, if you are conducting the process digitally. You will no longer be able to check staff’s passports and documentation with Covid-adjusted techniques – such as over email or a zoom call.

You can still meet your new staff face-to-face to verify their right to work documentation, however it is a lot more challenging to verify if their document is legitimate by looking at it in person, not to mention extremely insecure. There is now also a sizable  amount of people who work fully remotely, making in-person checking difficult. That process is made even less ideal as there is a high risk of substantial fines if you make a mistake. For example, the UK government specifies you may be penalised up to £20,000 for each worker, for not conducting the correct checks, or not doing them properly. There has recently been an increase in firms being penalised.

Your options include the following: either ask staff to physically bring in their documents on day one of employment so you can check them in person, or use an accredited Identity Service provider to conduct these checks digitally.

In addition to the Right to Work changes that affect all members of staff, the LSAG guidance, which received HM Treasury backing in the summer, introduces a requirement to have a policy and carry out checks on your frontline AML staff, as well as beneficial owners, officers and managers of the firm (BOOMs).

It further advises the firm to use electronic identification & verification (EID&V) tools to screen employees, and check their names against PEP, sanctions and adverse media. This section highlights that the screening of relevant employees is a requirement and firms are required to digitally assess the ‘conduct and integrity’ of an individual both before and during their employment, on an ongoing basis. In this case, relevant employees will include the MLCO, MLRO (nominated officer) and specialist compliance staff, however, this may also extend to other partners and staff responsible for risk assessments, client due diligence or other AML related activities.

There are clear benefits of digital identity checking and using a certified IDSP for right to work and other checks. This  includes:

  • Significantly faster identity and compliance checks
  • Improved security of your process and a reduction of fraud risk
  • Elimination of the risk of human error
  • Improved scalability of processes, to help you onboard staff faster
  • Automated recording of transactions, document and data storage, ideal for potential audits
  • Compliance with new requirements, guidance and rules

How can Amiqus help?

Amiqus is an accredited Identity Service provider under the new Trust Framework – a newly implemented framework which has introduced updated rules and guidance around Identity checking, referred to as the Gold Standard of digital Identity checking.

There have been more than a handful of IDSPs that have become certified against these new rules.

However,  Amiqus is the only IDSP who can help you do all your staff checks, as well as your AML checks through one service and platform. We are both an onboarding and a compliance platform, which helps you keep your processes in one place and avoid duplication, extra costs and extra effort.

In fact, we are a full employee onboarding platform. Aside from the essential right to work checks we can also perform a number of other checks such as the  employment history check, criminal record check, PEP’s, sanctions and adverse media checks and credit checks. Furthermore, we can cover all your staff checking requirements and help you comply with both LSAG guidelines and the new Trust Framework guidelines – the only IDSP with this capacity currently on the market.

Amiqus has powered more than one million checks to help people access legal help, get fast financial advice, access financial products, move home or jobs.


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