I live in the UK, work in the IT industry, and I quite often get contacted by recruitment agencies asking me if I'd be interested in roles that they are recruiting for, etc.
I am currently looking for work, and recently had an interview with a small company that was arranged through a recruitment agency. The interview went well, and at the end of it, they said that they would like to hire me, but that they would go through the recruitment agency to do this.
Following that, I had a call from the recruiter who had put me forward for the role, asking how it went, etc. I said that it had gone well and that they had told me in the interview that they would be looking to bring me on. It was clear at this point that the recruiter hadn't yet talked to the company, but they said that they would need a copy of my passport before I could start working there.
Now, I am generally reluctant to hand out personal information to people when I don't see the need for them to have it, so I asked why they needed it, and all the recruiter could tell me was that it was part of their process, and to prove that I have the right to work in the UK.
Having never secured a role through a recruitment agency previously, I don't really know anything about this... all of the jobs I've had, I have secured myself...
Why do the recruitment agency need a copy of my passport? I would expect to have to provide it to my employer, but not to the recruitment agency....
Should I ask for more information about this, and ask to see the terms under which they will hold a copy of my passport? I have not signed any agreement at all with the recruitment agency. I did ask the recruiter to give a reason for why they would need it, and how long they would hold it for, but he wasn't able to give me a clear answer. When I asked if he could send me the terms and conditions under which they would hold a copy of my passport, he seemed to suggest that he would write something up to send to me, as if they didn't have this documentation to hand.
Should I be worried by this, or am I just being paranoid?
I should have mentioned, I am a British Citizen, and have lived here all my life. I understand the need for them to verify that I have the right to work in the UK, but it rang alarm bells for me when I asked them about what they do with the information. They did say that they wouldn't pass it on to any other companies/ individuals, but all I've got as an assurance of that is the word of the one recruiter that I've spoken to... I also asked could I request for that information to be deleted/ removed once it had been processed and passed to the employer, and his answer seemed to be "no, we'll keep it on record"... I would have thought that they couldn't deny my request to have that information removed once they have verified my right to work in the UK, as they no longer have a purpose to hold it?