Immigration and right to work checks

Understanding Immigration and Right to Work Checks

  • The UK’s Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 requires employers to carry out right to work checks on all potential employees.
  • Right to work checks involve verifying that a candidate has the right to work in the UK through examining acceptable forms of documentation.
  • These checks are necessary to ensure organisations don’t employ anyone illegally.

The Importance of Right to Work Checks in Recruitment

  • By conducting right to work checks, recruiters help businesses avoid the significant financial and reputational penalties that can arise from employing someone illegally.
  • These checks also ensure an organisation is hiring a candidiate who is authorized to perform the job in question.

Carrying Out Right to Work Checks

  • A right to work check involves three key steps: obtain original documents from the candidate, check the documents in the candidate’s presence, and make copies of the documents and keep records.
  • The types of document that can be used for right to work checks are grouped into List A and List B, with List A documents showing an ongoing, unlimited right to work and List B documents showing a time-limited right to work.
  • The UK government provides an online checker tool that businesses can use to assist in these checks.

Responsibility of Recruitment Administrators

  • Recruitment administrators are often responsible for carrying out these checks. They must ensure they understand the law and process involved.
  • They are responsible for ensuring the secure storage and accurate maintenance of the data collected.
  • Administrators must also understand the circumstances under which further documents must be obtained from the candidate or employee.

Reviewing and Auditing Right to Work Checks

  • Best practice includes regular audits of right to work document checks, ensuring the ongoing legal employment of ongoing staff.
  • If an individual’s right to work documents are time-limited, the employer must obtain and check the updated documents before the previous ones expire.

Impact of Brexit on Right to Work Checks

  • After Brexit, the right to work of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK has changed. Recruitment administrators need to understand these changes and adapt their checks accordingly.
  • Administrators must also consider the EU Settlement Scheme and understand how this impacts a person’s right to work in the UK.

The Consequences of Non-compliance

  • Failing to carry out right to work checks or failing to do them properly can lead to civil penalties for the business, including fines up to £20,000 per illegal worker.
  • Severe cases of non-compliance may result in criminal penalties, including prison time for the employer.