Do I Need to Perform a Right to Work Check for All Employees?

All potential employees require a right to work check, no matter their nationality. As a UK employer, you have a legal obligation to comply with illegal work prevention legislation. This requires that you carry out basic checks on all employees living in the United Kingdom to verify that they have the necessary permission to perform the work offered. The Ministry of the Interior's online service allows video call controls.

Employers don't need to see physical documents, as information on the right to work is provided in real time directly from the Home Office systems. However, employers must check that the appearance, age, date of birth and names are consistent, as well as any employment restrictions and the expiration date of the immigration permit. Right-to-work controls refer to the process in which employers verify the eligibility of individuals to work in the United Kingdom and perform the work in question, in accordance with the obligations of the Home Office. Employers will need to perform a new right to work check if the person has a limited-time permit to work in the United Kingdom.

All personnel involved in hiring and onboarding (which may not be just human resources and line managers) must be trained to perform checks correctly and consistently. The Ministry of the Interior recently updated its guidance for employers in relation to right-to-work controls, which is available here. You'll also run the risk of being punished with a civil penalty if you don't prove a person you thought had the right to work for you, but is found to be an illegal worker. Online controls can be performed via video call and there is no need to view physical documents, as information is accessed directly from the Ministry of the Interior.

Before hiring a student, ask them to complete the employment declaration form for students to check if they are working for another employer and if their visa allows them to work full time outside the academic period. Verification of the right to work means verifying a document that is acceptable to show permission to work. While the system was open, employers were allowed to perform document checks remotely using video calls, and applicants submitted their documentation electronically instead of in the original format. If the follow-up check reveals that the application has been rejected and that the worker has lost the right to work, the guidelines state that the employer must take steps to prevent illegal employment, which would generally entail the termination of the contract.

It is not uncommon for central human resources functions to have developed a system that complies with legislation on right-to-work, but in practice, right-to-work controls carried out locally in branches or offices by managers and direct supervisors may not meet required standards. Currently, digital checks using IDPs are only available for holders of valid British or Irish passports or Irish passport cards. Employers must also verify that documents are authentic, have not been tampered with and belong to individual. Employers cannot discriminate or treat less favourably people without passports or people who do not want to use digital checks.

Employers were not required to carry out full or retrospectively “corrected” checks when a check adjusted for COVID had been used during program.

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