Do your employees have the right to work in the UK?

Did you know that an employer can be fined up to £20,000 if they can’t show evidence that they checked an employee’s right to work in the UK. So what checks should be carried out on new employees to ensure they have a legal right to work in the UK?

Unfortunately it may not be a simple task to ensure an employee, even if they hold a British Passport, has a legal right to work in the UK and you must carry out document checks on them before employment to make sure they are allowed to work. You should ask all people you are considering employing to provide their documents to you.

To ensure that you do not discriminate against anyone, you should treat all job applicants in the same way at each stage of your recruitment processes. You should not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK, or their immigration status, on the basis of their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, accent or length of time they have been resident in the UK.

You must:

  • see the worker’s original documents
  • check that the documents are valid with the worker present
  • make and keep copies of the documents and record the date you made the check

Visit to find further links to the documents required, more information from HMRC and to access a tool which should help you complete the checks required. By carrying out these checks you will ensure that you only employ people who are legally allowed to work for you, and you should also have a valid case against payment of a civil penalty if you are found to be employing an illegal worker.


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