Right to work checks: The essentials

For UK employers, conducting right to work checks is a critical legal element of employing a new worker.  

These checks, a key part of the hiring process, ensure that all employees are legally eligible to work in the UK.  

By performing these checks, employers play a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the UK labour market and preventing worker exploitation. 

Employer Responsibilities in Verifying Right to Work 

Right to work checks go beyond administrative precision – they reinforce lawful employment practices.  

Employers must skilfully verify an employee’s right to work as part of a thorough onboarding process.  

This due diligence is vital in protecting the business from the risks associated with employing illegal workers, including significant legal and financial repercussions. 

Key Steps in Conducting Right to Work Checks 

  1. Pre-employment verification: It is essential to verify the right to work of every prospective employee before they start their job. This applies to all employees, irrespective of nationality or background. 
  1. Document examination: Employers should consult a specific list of documents, like passports, residence permits, and work visas, to confirm an employee’s work eligibility. 
  1. Record maintenance: It is important to keep precise records of the checks, including copies of relevant documents and verification dates. 
  1. Online verification: For certain groups, particularly overseas nationals, online right to work checks are mandatory. 
  1. Staying updated: Employers must stay informed about legislative changes to remain compliant. 

Avoiding Risks and Penalties 

Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties, with fines up to £20,000 per illegal worker. Regular training and updates on right to work procedures are recommended to ensure continuous compliance. 

Right to work checks are a vital legal responsibility and a crucial part of maintaining a legally compliant and ethical workforce.  

Through these checks, employers significantly contribute to the fairness and integrity of the UK labour market, upholding workers’ rights and meeting legal obligations. 

For assistance in streamlining your right to work processes, contact our experts.