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Right to Work Checks

Blog Posts

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Posted on 16 June 2021

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Feb, 2021

Right to Work Checks

Posted by Helen in Employment Law Changes

Businesses employing people from outside the UK are responsible for ensuring that applicants and employees have the right to work in the UK.  This is particularly important because the right of freedom of movement of workers between the EU and the UK has now ended. 

At the recruitment stage it is a good idea to check the right to work in the UK of everyone regardless of nationality. 

New immigration rules mean that if an employer wants to employ someone from outside of the UK, permission will need to be applied for first (except Irish citizens).  For EU, EEA and Swiss citizens from 1 July 2021 an employer must have a sponsor licence and carry out a right to work check. 


Right to Work Check

This is used by the Home Office to verify that workers have the right to work in the UK. Failure to undertake this check before employment commences could render an employer liable to a financial penalty.


Existing Staff

The new system will not apply to people already employed prior to 1 January 2021, but they will need to apply for settled status.


EU Settlement Scheme

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK before 31st December 2020 can apply for settled status.  Applications must be made by 30th June 2021, and status information provided to the employer after this date.


Proof of right to Work

Prior to 30th June 2021 job applicants can prove their right to work with:

  • a valid passport
  • a valid national identity card
  • using the Governments online right to work checking service


Checking Documents

  • ask to see originals, checking that the dates have not expired, photos are the same, date of birth is the same
  • check the documents are valid and genuine (check online for the range of documents that are acceptable)
  • take a copy of the documents
  • record the date the checks were carried out