Right to Work: The importance of being compliant

As an employer, ensuring that all your employees have the right to work in the UK is not only good practice but also a legal requirement.

Failing to carry out right-to-work checks can result in severe penalties, including fines of up to £45,000 per illegal worker for first-time breaches.

You must carry out right-to-work checks before an employee starts employment. These must be carried out on all employees (to avoid a risk of discrimination). How you conduct your right-to-work checks will depend on each employee’s nationality and status in the UK.

Manual Checks

If the individual is a British or Irish citizen, they can usually prove their right to work with a British or Irish passport or passport card. You should check this manually.

You must ensure that the person who provided you with the ID document is the same person you will be employing i.e. by confirming whether their personal information, such as date of birth, is consistent throughout their ID and other paperwork and that their appearance is consistent with their photograph. You should record who carried out the check and when it was carried out. Securely retain the document in a format that cannot be manually altered in any way. 

Retain the document for the employee’s length of employment and for at least two years after their employment ceases.

IDVP Process Check

An Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVP) is a non-compulsory alternative to a manual check. It can be used for British and Irish passport holders.  IDVPs are particularly useful if you operate a remote business, and meeting with the individual to check their manual documents would be difficult.  

We recommend using an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) certified by the Home Office, as you will still be liable for a civil penalty if the check isn’t done correctly.  Again, you should retain copies of the passport and positive IDVP result documents throughout the employee’s employment and for two years after.

Online Right-to-Work Check

This check can be used if your prospective employee has a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit.

You can then check the employee’s status online. Your employee should provide you with a share code and their date of birth. Once you have accessed and viewed their status online, you should check that the photo matches that of your employee and whether they have any restrictions on their right to work. You should retain the profile page throughout the employment and for two years after the employee has ceased employment.

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