Employers are under a duty to check that every employee has a right to work. You must conduct this check before your employees commence working for you. If you want to employ a worker they must obtain, or already have, permission to work.
You must obtain documents from either of the Home Office’s lists, List A or List B. List A is for people who are allowed to work in the UK indefinitely. List B is for people who are only entitled to work for a limited period of time. Obtaining the correct documents and keeping copies in the prescribed format will give you a ‘statutory excuse’ against a civil penalty if you later find out that the worker does not have the right to work. If you do not obtain the exact documents listed, you will not have a statutory excuse for that worker.
If you are found to have employed a worker illegally, you may be liable for a civil penalty. Each illegal worker will attract a penalty.
The maximum penalty you can be made to pay is £20,000 per illegal worker. The amount you will have to pay will depend on whether you have been found to employ illegal workers before, whether you have reported the illegal worker to the Home Office, whether you have co-operated with the Home Office and whether you generally comply with your employer duties to prevent illegal working.
You must check the documents in the presence of the holder, and before they start working for you. You must check several properties of the documents. It is good practice to record that you have checked each point.
You must make a clear copy of each document in a format which cannot be altered and retain this copy securely for not less than two years after the employment has come to an end.
If the person has time-limited permission to be in the UK and perform the work, you must carry out additional checks when that permission expires.
It is unlawful to discriminate in employment practices because of race. To avoid discrimination, you should check all potential employees’ right to work documents.
If a potential employee cannot prove their right to work then you should not employ them. If the employee already works for you, has time-limited permission to work and cannot prove their right to work in a follow up check, you should cease employing them.
Home office keep on updating their guidance for conducting right to work check and it must be ensured that Right to Work check has been completed in conformity with the Home Office Guidance applicable at particular point.
Our expert immigration lawyers can guide you on correct ways of conducting right to work check.
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