How to check for right to work in UK

It is part of every company’s duty when employing staff in the UK to check that prospective employees have the right to work in the UK.

Noncompliance is serious. Each year firms are fined around £50 million for failing to have the correct documentation in place. Since 2016 the Home Office also has the power to enforce “on the spot closures” or seek prison sentences.

A maximum fine of £20,000 per illegal worker can be enforced on a firm employing illegal workers. A closure notice can ensure the business is closed for up to 48 hours. It is therefore in your interest to get it right.

How do you go about it?

Follow this simple three step process:

Step one: obtain original right to work documents from the prospective employee

Step Two: take reasonable steps to check it is genuine, check photos are consistent, dates of birth are the same, names are the same or name change evidence is provided, documents are current and relate to the person providing them.

Step Three: Take a copy of the document in a method that cannot be altered eg photocopy. Record the date that you made the check of the document. Take a record of when it expires and make a diary entry so that you can check the new documents for continuation of the right to work in the UK.

The most common form of right to work proof is a valid UK passport. You should keep a copy of the front page, the page with the photograph and any endorsements giving the right to work in the UK contained within the passport. If the employee does not hold a passport there is an acceptable list of documents prescribed by the Home Office. Click here for full listing.

All document copies should be kept for a minimum of two years after termination of employment.

Remember you must check all new employees documents before they commence employment with you. It is important to have a clause in your offer or contract which ensures employment is subject to the proof of right to work in the UK. In addition to this you must have a clause allowing you terminate employment should this right expire.

If you have questions or require more help on this matter please contact me here.