The right to work is an important issue that all employers must consider when hiring new employees. It is essential that employers conduct the necessary background checks to ensure that a job applicant is legally able to work in their country of residence. Failure to do so can result in heavy fines, legal action, and damage to your company’s reputation. In this article, we will discuss the various methods of checking a job applicant’s right to work, as well as some of the legal implications of not doing so.

What is a Right to Work Document?


A Right to Work document is an official document from the UK government that shows a person’s legal entitlement to work in the UK. The document must be provided to employers as part of the recruitment process. The document will detail a worker’s immigration status, their personal details such as name, date of birth and National Insurance number, their right to work in the UK, and the expiry date of the right to work. It will also provide details of any restrictions on the right to work that might be applicable.


The document may take different forms depending on the worker’s immigration status. For example, if the worker is a British citizen, they would need to provide a passport or identity card, whereas other nationals would need to show an immigration document such as a visa or residence permit.


It is important for employers to check and verify a job applicant’s Right to Work document as failure to do so could result in hefty fines.

 

Types of documentation required


For UK and Commonwealth citizens, the most common documents accepted include passports, birth or adoption certificates, or proof of nationality or registration as a British citizen. Non-EEA nationals need to show their passport along with a visa or biometric residence permit (BRP). For EEA nationals, a passport or national identity card is usually sufficient.


For employees sponsored under a Skilled worker visa, employers must see the employee’s Certificate of Sponsorship from the Home Office. This is issued by an employer who has gone through the necessary sponsor licensing process with the Home Office.


The above are the primary types of documents that employers should check for when verifying a job applicant’s right to work. It is important to remember that any documents must be originals, not copies. Employers may also need to check further documents depending on the type of applicant they are interviewing.

How to conduct right to work check


For EU workers, employers will need to carry out a manual right to work check which involves verifying an applicant’s ID document in person and obtaining a copy of their passport or identity card. For non-EU nationals, employers need to use the Home Office’s digital right to work checking service, known as the Employer Checking Service (ECS).

This will involve employers entering details about the job applicant including name, date of birth and nationality into the ECS system. If the worker’s name matches records held by the Home Office, the employer will receive confirmation that the worker has permission to work in the UK.


Employers must also be aware that follow-up checks are required in certain circumstances. This includes if the worker changes role or the documentation used during the initial right to work check expires. It’s important to be aware of the acceptable right to work documents which include passports, national identity cards, biometric residence permits and Home Office approval letters.


In cases where the job applicant does not have the right to work in the UK, employers should take steps to end their employment as soon as possible and take advice on whether they need to take any additional steps.

Guidance for Employers


It is a legal requirement for employers in the UK to check that their employees have the right to work in the UK. It is essential for employers to understand the regulations around right to work checks and be aware of the penalties for non-compliance. Employers must also ensure they are familiar with the eligibility criteria and documents required to confirm an applicant’s right to work.


When conducting right to work checks, employers must carry out checks in accordance with Home Office guidance. This includes carrying out manual checks with original documents or online checks through the Government’s online Right to Work Checking Service. Employers must ensure that all documents are valid, genuine and up to date, and that applicants meet the eligibility criteria before they can start work.


Employers should also check a job applicant’s entitlement to work in the UK before they offer them employment. The applicant will need to provide a valid passport or national identity card as evidence of their identity, nationality and residence status. If the applicant does not have either of these documents, employers should request further evidence from the applicant such as a birth certificate, marriage certificate, or other official document.


When carrying out follow-up checks, employers must also check that all the details on the original documents provided by the employee remain unchanged. If any of the details have changed, the employer must check that the new documents are valid and genuine and that the employee still meets the eligibility criteria.


Finally, employers must keep records of all right to work checks, including copies of all acceptable documents, signed declaration forms and information about when the checks were made.

Online Document Right to Work Checks and Retain


In order to protect employers from potential fines and other penalties associated with hiring employees without valid right to work documentation, it is important to conduct online document right to work checks. This will ensure that the employer is compliant with UK immigration law and not hiring any illegal workers. Online document right to work checks provide employers with an easy, secure and cost effective way to check a job applicant’s right to work in the UK.


When conducting online document right to work checks, employers are required to retain certain documents such as:


• The job applicant’s original passport or Home Office-issued documents that prove their right to work in the UK
• A copy of the job applicant’s valid visa or permission to remain in the UK
• An up-to-date photo ID
• Any additional documents required by the Home Office

These documents must be retained securely in either physical or digital form and must be kept for a minimum of two years after the employee’s last day of work. This allows employers to demonstrate that they have carried out right to work checks on their job applicants, should they be subject to a Home Office audit.


To ensure compliance with the law, it is recommended that employers use specialist online document checks for their right to work verification. These companies provide a secure, cost effective and accurate method for checking a job applicant’s right to work in the UK. They also offer assistance with retaining relevant documents and following up on any changes in sponsorship status.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Physical Document Right to Work Checks and Retain


It is important for employers to conduct physical document Right to Work Checks and retain documents to comply with their legal obligations. Physical document Right to Work Checks can be conducted in several ways:


• When a job applicant attends an interview, they should bring their original documents as proof of identity, residence and right to work in the UK;
• After a successful job application, the employer must check the original documents and make copies of them before the job starts;
• The employer should also keep the documents on file in case they need to be inspected by the Home Office at a later date;
• It is important that employers ensure the documents are stored securely and are not available to anyone other than authorised personnel.

By conducting physical document Right to Work Checks and retaining documents, employers can be confident that they have fulfilled their legal obligations and taken steps to protect themselves from potential sanctions.

Right to Work Checks for EU Workers


The UK’s Brexit deal with the European Union (EU) means that EU citizens and their families can continue to live and work in the UK. This means that employers must continue to check the right to work for EU citizens as part of their recruitment process.


EU citizens have the right to remain in the UK indefinitely, but they need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme before 31 December 2020. Those who are successful will receive a digital status confirming their right to remain in the UK, which must be checked by employers.


The Home Office has published guidance on how employers should conduct right to work checks on EU citizens, and it is important that businesses comply with the relevant legislation.
When undertaking right to work checks on EU citizens, employers should:

  • Ask applicants if they hold a valid passport or ID card issued by an EU member state
  • If not, request a valid permanent residence document
  • Ask applicants to provide proof of their eligibility under the EU Settlement Scheme
  • Retain records of any documents provided and make copies if necessary
  • Follow up with a check after a change of sponsored role or if the employee’s entitlement to work in the UK changes.

If an applicant does not hold a valid passport or ID card from an EU member state, employers should not reject them automatically. It is important to note that all applicants should be given equal opportunities regardless of their nationality. Employers must also ensure that they do not discriminate against individuals based on their country of origin or any other protected characteristic.


It is important that employers ensure that they adhere to the government’s guidance on right to work checks for EU citizens, as failure to do so can result in substantial fines and even criminal prosecution.

Check a job applicant’s entitlement to work in the UK


Ensuring that a job applicant has the right to work in the UK is an important part of any recruitment process. As an employer, you must ensure that any employee or job applicant has the right to work in the UK legally before they start employment with your organisation. You must also ensure that all workers have the right to work in the UK if they are not British citizens.


The Home Office provides guidance on acceptable documents that an individual can present to show their right to work in the UK. These include documents such as a passport, biometric residence permit, or a work permit. Employers must check the identity documents of all potential employees and keep copies of the documents in their records for at least two years after the employee has left their role.


When conducting a right to work check, employers must be sure to follow the guidance provided by the Home Office to ensure they are compliant with the law. This includes recording details of the document checked, retaining copies of the document and making sure that it is valid for the job role being applied for.
It’s also important that employers review a job applicant’s documents regularly throughout their employment, as some documents may only be valid for a certain amount of time. This is especially true for non-EEA nationals who require sponsorship from an employer.


By ensuring you adhere to the Home Office guidance when checking a job applicant’s entitlement to work in the UK, you can ensure that you are compliant with the law and avoid facing potential penalties for non-compliance.

Right to Work Check After a Change of Sponsored Role


When a job applicant changes their sponsorship role, employers are obligated to conduct a Right to Work check. This is because the individual may have different immigration rights and obligations associated with their new role.


To conduct a Right to Work check after a change of sponsored role, the employer should first ensure that the individual has their permission in writing from the Home Office to undertake the new role. Additionally, they should check that the document(s) presented to them by the job applicant confirms they have permission to work in the UK.


The documents employers can accept as evidence of right to work include: a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card, an Immigration Status Document or an Identity Card for EU/EEA Nationals. Employers should also consider asking the individual to provide a copy of their passport and visa documents.


If the applicant has applied for an extension of leave but not yet received their new visa, they must show the employer evidence that they have applied. This should be in the form of a Home Office Acknowledgement of Receipt letter or a letter of approval from the relevant embassy or consulate.


Finally, employers should note that it is illegal for them to employ someone without the right to work in the UK. As such, they should always keep records of all checks conducted as part of their Right to Work procedure.

Importance of follow-up checks


It is important to check the right to work documents of job applicants regularly and perform follow-up checks as necessary. The government has set out a list of acceptable documents that employers can use to prove that a job applicant has the right to work in the UK. Employers must be diligent in their follow-up checks to ensure that a job applicant’s right to work has not changed since the initial right to work check was carried out.


It is essential for employers to carry out follow-up checks if the right to work document that was checked initially expires or is set to expire soon. Follow-up checks should also be done if an employee has applied for a new visa or leave to remain. This will help employers to ensure they remain compliant with their duties regarding right to work checks.


Employers should also take steps to ensure that their procedures are up to date with any changes in legislation, which could affect the types of documentation accepted for right to work checks. Doing so will help them remain compliant and protect themselves from legal consequences.


Finally, it is important for employers to keep records of all right to work checks carried out. These should include copies of any original documentation provided by the job applicant and proof that follow-up checks were conducted. Having this information on hand will help employers demonstrate their compliance with the law if any questions arise.

CGM is a corporate immigration application for expats, sponsoring companies and business immigration advisors. Feel free to contact us on 0300 000 000 or send us an email if you have any questions. 

Penalties for non-compliance


Employers who fail to comply with their legal responsibilities for checking the right to work of all new employees can be subject to a civil penalty. Civil penalties are imposed on employers by the Home Office for employing individuals who do not have the right to work in the UK. Penalties range from £20,000 to £30,000 per illegal worker, depending on the severity of the breach and other factors.

The penalty is payable to the Home Office and is in addition to any fine imposed by the courts for criminal offences committed. Failure to comply with right to work requirements can also lead to prosecution and/or imprisonment, or both. The maximum penalty for conviction is up to two years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine or both.


Therefore, it is important that employers comply with their legal obligations when it comes to checking job applicants’ right to work in the UK. Employers should ensure they are properly trained on their responsibilities, as well as understand what documents they should accept as proof of right to work and how to conduct right to work checks.

Conclusion


The Right to Work check is an important legal requirement for employers and it is their responsibility to ensure they are compliant with the law. Employers should use their discretion when deciding which documents to accept and which not to, as well as be aware of the risks of non-compliance. Employers should also keep up to date with any changes to the laws surrounding the right to work in the UK. Following the above steps will help employers comply with the laws on Right to Work in the UK and avoid any penalties or other consequences.

How we can help?

CGM App is an end-to-end immigration app, designed to make the immigration and global mobility process more seamless and compliant; specifically for expats, sponsoring companies, and immigration consultants globally.

Visit cgmpartners.org.uk/register for more information.

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