Three Dangers Of Relying On Your ATS For Right To Work Checks

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) can help streamline the recruitment and on-boarding process. However, relying on these systems for Right to Work checks can lead to non-compliance.

Right to Work checks are mandatory for all businesses. Is is a legal requirement that they are undertaken for every recruit. Checks must be performed:

  1. Before commencing employment
  2. By the employer i.e. not a 3rd party background screening company or self-service
  3. In strict accordance with a prescribed process

Inadvertently hiring illegal workers is a huge risk for HR teams. The cost to the business and reputational damage arising can be severe. Breaching the legislation can result in criminal offences and fines up £20k per employee! Civil Penalties issued to UK businesses, including major brands, are rising. In 2017 they came to over £39M in total. The Home Office also ‘name and shame’ non-compliant businesses. As such, recruitment processes need to be solid. Also, Right to Work checks must be comprehensive and compliant. With ATS, there are 3 key issues to look out for:


  1. Allowing candidates to upload their own Right to Work documentation using ‘self-service’

Some companies allow candidates to upload ID documents onto the ATS before interview to save time. These copies are then compared to the originals at interview, or in some cases once employed. Even if a recruiter scans them on, this isn’t a compliant Right to Work check. At best, this approach helps identify the candidate has ID documentation. At worst, the documents could be forgeries. The key take away from this is to checks the documents in person, while the candidate is in front of you. Once the documents are confirmed as valid, you can scan them on.


  1. Using a third-party provider to check document validity from your ATS on your behalf

This is, in effect, ‘outsourcing’ the task of checking that a candidate has a Right to Work pre-interview. This is a waste of effort/money because:

a. The Home Office states: “You are unable to establish a statutory excuse when the check is performed by a third party”. Also, “You may not delegate this task to a third party”.

b. The check is performed remotely. Often without the recruiter copying the original documents with the candidate in person. (See issue 1)

Both aspects render the check invalid. Only the employer can undertake a right to work check. If you involve a 3rd party in the process you still need to run a compliant check before employment.


  1. Convincing yourself that you have carried out the specific Right to Work check tasks of OBTAIN, CHECK, COPY using your ATS


In reality, you may have shortcut the Home Office regulations and guidance. The required documents vary depending on the candidate’s profile/circumstances. Without the candidate present during the check, you cannot know which documents you need. Ensuring this aspect of your recruitment and on-boarding workflow does not deviate from the rules is critical. The Home Office guidance states:

“If you carry out document checks as set out in this guide, you will have a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty. This means that if we find that you have employed someone who does not have the right to work, but you have correctly conducted document checks as required, you will not receive a civil penalty for that illegal worker.”

We can remove this risk without damaging your efficiency


Should you have any concerns about your ATS in relation to Right to Work checks please contact us.

We have helped several businesses by introducing Rightcheck alongside their ATS. The ATS still handles the recruitment process workflow with Rightcheck ensuring compliant Right to Work checks.

Implementation is straightforward. The result is a recruitment process that is not only streamlined, but is compliant with mandatory employment legislation.

Rightcheck is a mobile app and cloud management portal that guides recruiters through a fully compliant Right to Work check. Automatic regulation updates, powered by KPMG expertise, are built-in. Adopting Rightcheck can provide you with control and real-time visibility of every Right to Work check across your business.

Why not contact us for a demo and see how it can revolutionise your processes?

Book a Demo and see for yourself