Proof of ID for recruitment agencies

I’ve now had contact from Computer People’s legal department about my initial post. Read my post about it.

Following up from my recent post where I suspected that a request for a copy of my passport and my national insurance number was a scam:

I didn’t receive (and still haven’t) any mail back from the agency clarifying their request after I asked for it, and I couldn’t find anything at all on their website about it. However, following up this “Is it a scam?” thread on tmdg.co.uk which asks the very same question, I was lead to this page on the Square One website (Square One are a UK recruitment agency) which says this:

For candidates seeking permanent employment through Square One, the only noticeable change to the service we offer will be in relation to confirmation of identity. In order to ensure our compliance with the regulations, we will ask you to send us a copy of your driving licence, passport or birth certificate in order to verify your identity. This is required by Regulation 19 of the Conduct Regulations.

Interesting stuff indeed. Fortunately for me, they also link to the PDF of the Conduct Regulations themselves, hosted on the DTI’s site, Regulation 19 of which (on page 18) says:

Regulation 19 Confirmation to be obtained about a work-seeker

Provides that an employment agency or employment business must not
introduce or supply a work-seeker to a hirer unless it has obtained
confirmation:
(a) of the identity of the work-seeker. This will mean seeing any
document which provides evidence of the work-seekers identity,
such as his/her passport, driving licence, birth certificate.

So, at last! Clarification! How hard could it be to at least include links to this information in a request? If I sent you an email asking for a photocopy of your passport and your national insurance number, would you be perfectly happy to send it off to me? Especially if you weren’t sure of my identification (because it’s never the actual recruitment agents who talk to me who ask for this, it’s from people I’ve never heard of who happen to have domains which appear to be from the same company) ?

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8 thoughts on “Proof of ID for recruitment agencies”

  1. Thanks for posting this info! Just had an email through from computer people asking me for my ID and I was very reluctant to send it out, but a quick search on google brought up your blog page 🙂

  2. Thank you so much. I just had the same experience.

    Isn’t the Internet+Google just FAB?

    You were able to alleviate my concerns

  3. I had the same and I sent out a scathing email to the agency asking them for clarification.

    They claim that agencies that don’t ask for this information are ‘breaking the law’. So I guess that must mean about 90% of recruitment agencies are technically breaking the law.
    They claim it is to stamp out identity fraud, illigal workers, etc.

    This regulation is quite dubious.
    Anyone with photoshop skills could just post a fake passport jpg. And by sending out such confidential info as passport and national insurance ID via email would most likely be unencrypted – actually increasing the risk of Identity fraud.

  4. You mean they actually responded to you? That’s amazing. The first I heard was the phonecall from their lawyers.

    You’re completely right though – the information they ask for is eminently fakeable, and compeletely worthless.

  5. Thanks for posting this. After dealing with a number of agencies recently, today I received the same request for information for the first time.

    The info you provided here helps me to understand why they are asking.

    I also have an additional tool to add to my “how good is this agency?” checklist. (a) Do they ask for this info, and (b), how do they reply when I ask for clarification. 🙂

    Thanks again!

  6. Just found this via a Google search after being approached by an agency I am currently providing work to.

    The PDF linked to on the DTi website has now moved to: http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file24248.pdf

    Interesting to note is if you are a contractor provided through a private limited company you can choose to opt-out of these regulations and that means the agency will not be required to obtain proof of ID.

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