As an employer it is a business’ responsibility to ensure that they carry out all measures necessary to prevent illegal working in the UK. These measures involve carrying out document checks on individuals prior to their employment.
Who should a business carry out a right to work check on?
Checks must be carried out on all potential employees within a business, all job applicants must be treated in the same way. No assumptions should be made with regards to a person’s right to work or immigration status based on colour, nationality, ethnicity, national origins, accent or length of time they have been a UK resident.
How and when should a business conduct checks?
Government documents outline the three stages that should be followed in order to appropriately carry out a right to work check, these are:
1) Obtain the original versions of at least one acceptable document(s)
2) Check that these documents are genuine and that you are receiving the documents from the potential employee themselves, checking:
- The photograph and date of birth is consistent across documents and with the person’s appearance, ensuring there is no impersonation occurring
- That the expiry date for their permission to work within the UK has not passed
- Work restrictions imposed on the prospect employee that outlines the type of work they can carry out
- That the documents are genuine (i.e. they have not been tampered with)
- The reason behind any variation in names across documents (i.e. marriage certificate, deed poll, etc.)
3) You must then make a copy of all documents in a format that cannot be altered and retained securely; these should then retain the date that these checks were made.
What happens if a business employs an illegal worker?
It is a criminal offense for any employer to employ an illegal worker, penalties for this include:
- A civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker
- Up to five years in prison
Here at Flex, we are experienced in carrying out these checks to ensure that all candidates we present to our clients are legally allowed to work within the UK, ensuring compliance with right to work regulations and saving time for our clients.
For further information on right to work checks take a look through the full government guidance.