What are Right to Work Checks and how are they done?

Changes in the UK law now means that employer have a responsibility to make sure that the people that they are employing are allowed to be working in the UK. For people who have come from overseas, this means that they will need to have a Right to Work check carried out.

For employers who fail to check an employee’s right to work, and knowingly – or unknowingly – employ someone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK, the penalty can be huge fines and potentially a prison sentence. Not to mention the bad publicity, potential damage to a business’s reputation and jeopardizing the potential to take future migrant workers.

This is a safeguard put in place by the Government which serves several functions. Firstly it makes it more difficult for people to stay illegally in the country as they will be limited in their ability to work. It also means that the government has more chance of eliminating tax evasion, and also helps to reduce the amount of low paid people working in bad, sub-standard conditions – a risk which is always run by people working illegally as they effectively have no rights.

What are Right to Work Checks and how are they done?

The Check

The Right to Work check should normally be carried out at the point of appointing someone for a job role. It comprises of three sections:

  1. Getting the person’s original documents
  2. Checking them in the presence of the holder
  3. Keeping a good copy of the documents, and clearly marking the date on it.

In specific circumstances, employers can ask for help from the Home Office – if their immigration status is in doubt. The three circumstances are:

  1. If they don’t have their documents – i.e. they are with the Home Office.
  2. They have an Application registration card.
  3. They have a Certificate of Registration.

It is important for employers to remember that is someone does have the right to work in the UK, there will sometimes be an expiry date, and so if this is the case, this date should be noted.

Employers should keep copies of the documents for the duration of the person’s employment and for a further two years after that.

Employment Agencies

It is important for businesses to note that the responsibility of the Right to Work checks are on them. If someone has been recruited through an employment agency, the business should still carry out the checks. If the business ends up recruiting someone illegally, it will fall on their shoulders, not those of the recruitment agency.

Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers usually have the right to work whilst their asylum application is being processed. However, this should be verified by the company, and can be done so with an Application Registration Card (ARC).

Right to Work checks have been put in place to both protect the rights of workers and for better control over immigration and tax. It is a relatively simple process which can make a big difference for individuals and the whole country.

For more information about Right to Work, DBS and other checks which should be carried out when offering employment, get in touch today!