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Right to work in the UK

Right to Work

Update streamlines company checks on future foreign employees and their eligibility to work in the UK…

Employ someone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK and you could find yourself at the start of a five-year jail sentence, not to mention the unlimited fine that you would have to pay. An employer who takes on someone who they knew or ‘had reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work here is risking a lot – their own freedom and their entire company potentially. So there’s a lot at stake and you need to make sure you make the required checks on any prospective employees, so that you are not liable.

New for 2019

Since April 2018, organisations have been able to use the online right to work checking service provided by the Home Office, and a new update on this comes into effect from 28 January 2019. Previously, it was a three-step checking procedure, which called for organisations to conduct follow-up checks on documents that are time-limited.

From the end of January, it will be possible for Human Resource departments to rely solely on the online service, without having to get documents from the prospective employee UNLESS your employee’s immigration status cannot be checked online.

In order to protect yourself, you must make sure you use the online service for each individual and only take them on once online checks have been completed. You will also be responsible for ensuring that the photo on the online check tallies up with the real-life person – and you must also keep a clear copy of the online check response for the total time the individual is employed – and for two years after that. This copy can be an electronic or hard copy.

If you employ students, you will need to have details of their term dates – and another online check must be done before any time-limitations run out.

When the online check is not enough

There will be cases where the online check cannot be carried out – for instance if there is an outstanding application, appeal, or review with the Home Office. In this instance, you should contact the Employer Checking Service and get a Positive Verification Notice, which will cover six months.

UK Nationals

As of 28 January 2019, if carrying out document checks on UK nationals, you no longer need full birth and adoption certificates. Short-form certificates are sufficient, together with an official document containing their National Insurance number. This is designed to make it easier for checks to be carried out on citizens without a UK passport.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it could help your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 01296 769 282 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.