As a UK employer, you are required by law to check that all your employees have the right to work in the UK. It is important that you:

  • are up to speed with your obligations towards preventing illegal migrants working.
  • have a robust Right to Work (RTW) checking system and process in place to ensure that all your employees have the legal right to work in the UK.
  • know which documents are acceptable, the authenticity of these documents, when documents are checked, how copies are annotated and stored and take note of when further required checks are necessary.

Employers must conduct follow-up checks to retain their statutory excuse for a person who has a temporary right to work in the UK i.e. when the foreign employee’s permission to be in the UK comes to an end.

Acceptable documents

Depending on the potential employee circumstances, acceptable documents to prove the right to work in the UK should include one or more of these documents:

  • Passport
  • Biometric Residence Permit
  • National Identity Card
  • Full Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of Naturalisation
  • Evidence of settlement or pre-settlement under the EU Settlement Scheme etc.

Conducting Right To Work checks

If your new hire has a Biometrics Residence Permit (“BRP”) card or status under Pre-Settled/Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”), it is possible to conduct an online RTW check while the employer is making a video call subject to the employee granting their permission to access their details online.
For those who do not hold a BRP card or status under the EUSS, you can request for a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email. You should then arrange a video call so you can check the employee against the digital copy of the documents.
If the employee cannot show their documents because they have an outstanding application with the Home Office, employers are advised to contact the Home Office Employer Checking Service (https://www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status) which will issue a ‘Positive Verification Notice’ if the person has a right to work providing the employer with a statutory excuse for 6 months from the date in the notice.

Please contact us for a free initial assessment, advice or guidance on being compliant with the UK immigration rules and avoid the hiring of illegal workers.

Conducting RTW checks during the pandemic

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Home Office has enforced a temporary adjusted procedure. This must be backed up by follow up checks.

During these circumstances, you may request for your new hires to provide their identity documents digitally. You are still required to check the document against the holder. This can be done on a video call, but you are required to complete a physical check at the soonest possible time.

The Nathanson Partnership has produced a toolkit with guidance and a checklist which can be used for each employee.

Please contact us if you would like to receive a copy of this.