If you are looking to set up a company in the UK, Right to Work Checks are an essential part of taking on employees and casual workers. This post gives a brief overview of some of the main questions those entering the UK market might have about Right to Work Checks.

What is a “right to work check”?

Employers must check and ensure that any employees or workers they take on are legally allowed to work in the United Kingdom before they employ them. This is a legal requirement, and it is illegal to hire anyone, formally or informally, who is aged 16 or over and is not able to work in the UK.

What happens if an employer does not carry out Right to Work Checks?

Employers in the United Kingdom have a legal obligation to prevent people from working illegally. If it is discovered that an employer has hired an illegal worker, and there is no evidence of a Right to Work Check having been carried out, the employer may receive a civil fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker discovered.

Who needs a Right to Work Check?

Right to Work Checks should be carried out on all employees before they begin work. Carrying out Right to Work Checks on only certain groups of people may be in breach of discrimination laws. Employers should not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK based on colour, nationality, ethnicity, accent or the amount of time they have been a legal resident in the UK.

If I know the candidate personally, do I still need to carry out a Right to Work Check?

Yes, regardless of whether you know the job candidate personally, you must still carry out a Right to Work Check before they commence work with you.

How do I carry out a Right to Work Check?

Carrying out a Right to Work Check is a three step process. Firstly, you must see the applicant’s original documents that prove they have a right to work in the UK. You must then check that these documents are in fact valid, and you must check the validity of the documents whilst the applicant is present. Finally, you must take clear copies of the documents, in a way which means they cannot be altered, to record the date the check was carried out.

If you have questions about your obligations when hiring in the UK, check out our HR Services or contact us today for more advice and tips.