Right to Work Checks – Getting it right!

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Right to Work Checks – Getting it right!


Right to Work Checks – Getting it right!


Organisations in the UK are under a legal compulsion to confirm that they only employ work force with the required immigration status permitting them to work in the UK. They are consequently required to perform the right to work checks for anyone whom they are considering to offer an employment or an internship as we all as those they already appointed.


If the company employs an illegal worker (intentionally or unintentionally), they could be exposed to a civil fine of up to £20,000 per illegal employee or, if noticed responsible of employing someone whom they had a “reasonable cause to believe” did not possess the right to work in the UK, could be sentenced to a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited penalty. Not revealing the circumstances that any sponsor license (tier 2) would be revoked and the Home Office may issue the details of the infringement and penalty imposed on the company on its website.


If conveyed out accurately, however, the right to work checks would offer the employer a statutory excuse – defence against trial in case they are found, unintentionally or as a result of deception by the employee, to have employed an illegal worker. It is not only vital to perform these checks prior to the commencement of the employment, but during the course of it as well.


In order to guarantee compliance, the Home Office conducts without notice spot checks on companies. During such a check, the owner is expected to present documents demonstrating that his employees have the right to execute the work they are currently undertaking.


Conducting Right to Work Checks?

Tips on carrying out right to work checks the correct way.


Do not allocate the Right to Work to third parties, such as recruitment bureaus, as this will not provide you the statutory excuse in case of a prosecution.


Get hold of original documents in compliance with the Home Office guidance on the Right to Work checks.

Only the credentials, which are listed in the guidance should be acknowledged. Any statutory excuse will elapse together with the employees’ leave to remain in the UK, and later checks will need to be conducted.

Check the credentials in the presence of the bearer to make sure the documents have not expired, and the potential employee is the one pictured. Employers would not be able to depend on on the statutory excuse if it was reasonably evident that the document supplied was forged.


Keep hold of a clear copy of the records in an electronic or hardcopy format for the period of the employment and two years afterwards. Document the date the check was carried out and store the credentials in an easily reachable place and system, in case the Home Office requests for these to be presented.

You should look for professional advice if you become aware that any of your potential or existing employees do not have a legal right to work.


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