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  • Writer's pictureShona

How to do Right to Work Checks

Until lately, the right to work process has been fairly straightforward. But thanks to that wonderful combination of Brexit & Coronavirus there have been lots of changes to the way we do things. So I figured it's worth refreshing ourselves on what we actually need to be doing.

You need to be carrying out right to work checks for ALL prospective employees, including those who are British. This is to help you avoid discrimination by making assumptions about someone's permission to work in the UK based on their appearance or ethnic origin.

There are basically 3 steps to a right to work check:

  1. Obtain right to work documents from the individual

  2. Check the validity & authenticity of the documents in the presence of the individual

  3. Make a copy of the documents, date them, keep them secure and schedule any follow up checks required.


1. Obtain right to work documents from the individual

You should ask the individual to provide you with their documents proving their right to work in the UK. A list of acceptable documents is available on the government website. These documents should be provided to you before or on the individual's first day of work.

Or if the individual has a share code for the Home Office's online service, you can use this to check their right to work.

Since Coronavirus impacted the ability to meet people in person, the government have amended the legislation so that checking documents via video link is acceptable. This is to be done by using a share code on the online checking service in the presence of the individual on a video call.

2. Check the validity of the documents

You will need to check that the documents are legitimate, in date and refer to the individual in front of you. Essentially, you need to put your Sherlock Holmes hat on and see whether you've got a fake ID in front of you or not.

Check that the photos on the documents are consistent across all documents and actually look like the individual in front of you or on video link. Check that expiry dates have not passed, check for work restrictions, check that the names are consistent and that the documents don't look like they have been tampered with.

3. Make a copy

Take copies of any passports, ID cards and any other documents provided to you regarding the individual's right to work. Copies must be retained throughout employment and kept for two years after employment has ended.



What if the individual doesn't have the right to work?

Your offer of employment should have been conditional on their right to work in the UK and their ability to evidence this. So if, upon checking, you find that the individual doesn't have the right to work, you can withdraw the offer of employment.

Why is this so important?

You can be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker in your business!

Do I have to do the checks every year?

This will depend on the individual's visa entitlements. If an individual has indefinite leave to remain with no work restrictions, there is no need to check this person's right to work annually. However EU nationals and other foreign workers are likely to have time limits on their right to work or, if they are students they may have work restrictions on their visas. Therefore you will need a system to ensure that you check in with these individuals BEFORE their visa runs out!

Still got questions?


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