Verifying employment eligibility is a crucial step for employers, and the Ministry of the Interior recently updated its guidance for employers in relation to right-to-work controls. When it is necessary to verify a document, employers must sign and print their name and the date and time to confirm that they have seen the original document. A new right to work check must be carried out if the person has a limited-time permit to work in the UK. If the employer has performed a legal verification of the right to work before the employee starts working, they will have a legal excuse not to impose a civil sanction.
Employers must check that the appearance, age, date of birth and names are consistent, as well as check any employment restrictions and the expiration date of the immigration permit. The guidance states that employers must be able to show these tests if requested to show that they have established a legal excuse. Manual verification of the right to work can be delegated to members of the employer's staff, but the employer will still be responsible for the civil sanction in the event that the person is found to be working illegally and the prescribed verification has not been carried out correctly. Before doing so, it is important to ask the person for any information or documentation that indicates that they have a pending application for permission to remain in the United Kingdom with the Home Office, that it was submitted before their previous permit expired, or that they have an appeal or administrative review pending and, therefore, cannot demonstrate their right to work.
In this case, employers will have to contact the Home Office's Employer Verification Service (ECS) to establish a legal excuse. From a reputational standpoint, it is also important for employers to carry out checks to ensure that no one is hired who doesn't have the right to work in the UK. Any verification of the right to work carried out in accordance with this guide will provide employers with a legal excuse to hire them. The most recent guidelines make it clear that an employer may face a civil penalty if it does not record the date the verification was carried out in this way and, in addition, simply writing a date on the copy of the document does not confirm that this is when the verification was actually performed. Employers don't need to see physical documents, as information on the right to work is provided in real time directly from Home Office systems.
This check must be done just before the person's prior leave ends, so employers should be sure to write it down in a journal.