The government has an easy to use system for checking someone’s eligibility to work in the UK which can be accessed via www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk.
Employers can use this service to find out:
- Which type of documents give someone the right to work in the UK;
- What a right to work check involves for each of them.
The system gives employers access to up-to date information about migrants’ rights to work in the UK. The service is secure and free to use.
The service is voluntary for employers and individuals, migrants may demonstrate their right to work using either the existing document checking service, or they can use the online checking service. They then can authorise their prospective employer to see their information on their immigration status and will also be able to view what information will be shared.
What is the Employer checking service?
Employers must ask the home office to check a potential employee or an employee’s immigration status if any of the below are true:
- They cannot show documents because of an ongoing appeal, review or application with the home office;
- They have an Application Registration Card;
- They have a Certificate of Application that is less than six months old;
- They are a commonwealth citizen who started living in the UK prior to 1988.
How do you use the Employer checking service?
Employers will need the employee or potential employees’ permission to be able to perform the check.
The following information about the potential employee or employee must be supplied to be able to request a check:
- Full name;
- Date of birth;
- Job title;
- Hours worked per week;
- Home address;
- Home Office reference number or case ID.
Employers will also need to provide their business name, business type and business contact information.
Changes due to Coronavirus
Due to the coronavirus pandemic there have been temporary changes made to the right to work checks, to make it easier for employers to carry them out.
From March 2020 the changes made were:
- Checks can be carried out via video calls;
- Job applicants and existing workers can send scanned documents or a photo of the document for checks using email or a mobile app rather than having to send originals;
- Employers should use the Employer Checking Service if a prospective or existing employee cannot provide any of the accepted documents to them.
Checks are still necessary and employers must continue to check the prescribed documents listed in the right to work checks, a employers guide, which can be found on www.gov.uk.
Due to Covid-19 someone may not be able to evidence their right to work, employers need to take care to ensure they do not discriminate against a job applicant because they are unable to show documents. For more detailed advice please see www.gov.uk and the code of practice for employers.
The temporary process
- Ask the employee to submit a scanned copy or a photocopy of their original documents via email or using the mobile app;
- Arrange a video call with the employee to ask them to show you the original documents to the camera and then check these against the digital copy that was sent;
- Record the date the check was made and mark it as “adjusted check undertaken on (date) due to Covid-19”;
- If the employee has a current Biometric Residence Permit or Biometric Residence Card or status under the EU Settlement Scheme then the online right to work checking service can be used while the video call is in place, the applicant must however give their permission to view their information.
After the Covid-19 measures end
Once the temporary measures end then employers will be asked to carry out retrospective checks on existing employees who:
- Started working for the company during the temporary measures;
- Required a follow-up right to work check during the temporary measures.
The checks should be marked as:
“The individuals contract commenced on (DATE). The prescribed right to work check was undertaken on (DATE) due to Covid-19.
The checks must be carried out within 8 weeks of the Covid-19 measures ending. Both checks should be kept for employers’ records.
If it is found that the employee does not have the necessary permission to work in the UK, then their employment must be terminated.
It is an offence to knowingly employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK. Employers can be fined up to £20,000 for employing illegal workers.