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Validation services FAQ's
Why am I asked to provide this sensitive information?

There are two key regulations that agencies are required to comply with:

  • The Agency Regulations
  • Preventing Illegal Working

Each has slightly different requirements and obligations which have to be met.

In the case of the Agency Regulations; this requires an agency to validate the identity and right to work of any candidate put forward for an assignment, amongst many other requirements. If you, as many do, confirm that you wish to opt out of the Agency Regulations, these obligations then fall away. This is one reason why some agencies may not ask you to provide your documents as they are only considering this aspect.

The Preventing Illegal Working rules cannot be avoided through an opt out. Where agencies are aiming to comply with these rules, and a number of them are yet to integrate these requirements; they are required, in every case, to hold a face to face meeting with you to which you must bring a range of highly sensitive documents; the agency must then verify those documents at the meeting and take copies for their records.

Many agencies are unable to fully satisfy the obligations of these rules, as face to face meetings are not always possible. In these cases, it is essential that an agency puts in place the most robust checking procedure they can as, if an illegal worker was subsequently identified by the UK Border Agency, the agency risks heavy fines and a significantly damaged end client relationship if their procedures do not meet the requirements.

Technically contractors operating through their own limited company can fall outside the obligations of Preventing Illegal Working, although there are a number of additional considerations that have to be taken in to account.

The factor that is possibly the biggest driver behind the request for these checks is that many end clients are insisting that all contractors have levels of checks carried out regardless of whether these are legally required or not. They have significant penalty clauses in their contracts with agencies if the agencies fail to comply. So whilst technically you may not be required to provide the information by the regulations, you may still be required to provide it due to end client requirements.

Contractors operating through an umbrella will in all cases have to supply their sensitive information to the umbrella as the umbrella is the employer and so they have to ensure that they fully comply with the Preventing Illegal Working requirements, regardless of your Agency Regulations status. As agencies cannot rely on the checks made by umbrellas they can often ask for the same information.

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