Right to Work in the UK Checklist
All UK employers are required by law to carry out initial right to work checks on each individual worker they intend to hire, in order to prevent illegal working. Now with the United Kingdom out of the European Union, there have been several changes to the right to work checking system and the employer needs to ensure the correct process checks are fulfilled first.
It is an offence to knowingly employee anyone who does not have the right to work in the UK by reason of their immigration status. Employers can face a penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegally employed worker who does not have the right to work in the UK and where correct right to work checks were not undertaken.
Employers may conduct either a physical document check or perform an online check to establish their employees right to work.
Here is some advice on what types of documents to accept and how to conduct physical and online checks to ensure your business is compliant;
- Obtain the Applicants original documents
When carrying out manual right to work checks, you must request to see the applicant’s original documents.
Here is a link to the Home Office right to work checklist that sets out the types of documents that can be accepted for a physical check: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/right-to-work-checklist
Acceptable documents are categorized into the 2 lists and employers must obtain documents from either List A or List B when performing a physical right to work check.
Documents under this list show that the holder is not subject to immigration control and has no restrictions on their stay, therefore they have an ongoing right to work in the UK. This includes all UK citizens, EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals who have been granted settled status and non-EEA nationals holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (IRL).
Documents under List B show that holders right to be in the UK is time limited or there are restrictions on their right to work. This includes all non- UK Nationals who are subject to immigration controls
As a result of the Pandemic there are temporary changes to viewing an applicants’ original documents. These changes were made on 30th March 2021 and remain in place until 31st August 2021 (inclusive):
- Checks can currently be carried out over video calls
- Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents using email or a mobile app
- Employers should use the Employer checking service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents: https://www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status
- Check the documents are genuine
Once you have obtained the acceptable document you must check the document are genuine and the person presenting them is the employee and have permission to the work.
- Are photographs consistent across documents and the person appearance
- Dates of birth correct
- Check work restrictions
- Are you satisfied the document is genuine and not been tampered with?
- Have you checked the reason for different names across document?
Conducting an online right to work check
Employers can use the online checking services for employees who hold:
- Biometric residence permit
- Biometric residence card
- Status under the EU Settlement Scheme
- Status under the Points based immigration system
The steps are:
- Visit https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
- Satisfy yourself that any photograph on the online right to work check of is of the individual
- Retain a clear copy of the response provided by the online right to work check and store that response securely either electronically or in hard copy for the duration of employment and for two years afterwards.
The most significant change to the right to work checking system is for the EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals, these became effective from 01st July 2021;
- All workers from out the UK and Ireland now require a visa/evidence of a right to work in the UK
- Irish citizens can continue to use their passport or passport card to prove their right to work.
- EU citizens that were living in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 should have applied for EU settlement status and will provide evidence of this at the point we employ them.
- EU citizens that arrive in the UK from January 2021 onwards must have applied for a visa before arriving, which from 1st July 2021, we will need to see before we employ.
- Non-EU citizens will continue to obtain visas much as they do currently, although some job types will need sponsorship under the skilled worker rules.
Advice, supporting and training on Right to Work checks
If you have questions on Right to Work checks or are needing support on maintaining ongoing compliance, Agile HR can help, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We can provide tailored advice and training for your business to ensure your company is fully compliant and up to date with the latest guidance on right work checks.