All employers, irrespective of size or sector, have a legal duty to check that any person they employ has the right to work in the UK.  This means that before employing any person, the following steps should happen:

  • Obtain – one or more original documents to determine if the person has permission to work in the UK;
  • Check – the documents in the presence of the potential employee and ensure they are valid; and
  • Copy – the documents and record the date that the check was made.

Acting on a mistaken assumption that it’s unnecessary to carry out a Right to Work check, or even failing to carry out the check properly, may lead to costly civil penalties of up to £20,000 for each person working illegally. Given the potential for significant consequences arising from illegal working, it’s worthwhile looking at the new employers guide to “Right to work checks”.  

Even if you are already familiar with how to carry out Right to Work checks, a refresh of what you know is always a good thing, as it helps embed compliance and good practice within the business.

Alternatively, if you are new to carrying out Right to Work checks, the guide is definitely a must-read as it will provide useful information to enable you to:

  • Understand how and when to do the Right to Work checks;
  • Know what checks to carry out where you are taking over workers following a business or service transfer (TUPE);and
  • Know which documents to accept as part of the process.

Once you have carried out a Right to Work check, it’s usually unnecessary to do follow-up checks on existing employees unless you are aware that their immigration status and right to work is subject to a time limit. 

Another point to note is that the guide only applies to Right to Work checks required on or after 16 May 2014.

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