Right to Work – Are you checking?

Checking a prospective employee’s Right to Work can often be viewed as just another administration task within the recruitment process.  However overlooking the Right to Work check or getting it wrong could have serious financial and reputational consequences.

If this key administrative task is not carried out correctly, it will not be your employee’s liability. You, as the employer, could face a severe financial penalty or, at worst, a prison sentence.

Carrying out a Right to Work check correctly is important because it provides you with a ‘statutory response’ against prosecution for employing an illegal worker.

This means that if you do inadvertently employ an individual who does not have the right to work in the UK, you cannot be penalised for doing so, as long as you have carried out the correct right to work check and followed the defined process before their employment commenced.

So, what does a Right to Work check involve?

In order to comply with the correct Right to Work check there are three steps that you must follow, Check the documentation.  Make a copy the documentation.  Record that you have seen the original paperwork, retaining a copy.

Make sure you take the following action.
  • See every job applicant’s original documents before you offer them a position with you.
  • Always check that the documents are valid with the applicant present
  • Physically hold a copy of the documents.  If the document is false, you will only be liable if it is reasonably apparent that the document is false.
  • Make sure the person in front of you is the person pictured and described in the document.
  • Make and retain a clear copy of the document(s).

The advice is to always take a high-resolution colour copy. You then can show that you have a clear copy of the document(s).

  • Record the date that you checked and photocopied the documents, and sign and print your name on the photocopy.
  • You must keep a copy of every document you have checked.
  • This can be a hardcopy or a scanned copy in a format which cannot be manually altered, such as a jpeg or pdf document.
  • Keep the copies securely for the duration of the person’s employment and for a further two years after they stop working for you.
  • Be able to produce these document copies quickly in the event that you are requested to show them to demonstrate that you have performed a right to work check.

Carrying out an audit from time to time helps to ensure that your organisation is compliant and if you do any follow up right to work checks, repeat the steps above:

  • Check
  • Copy
  • Sign and Date

Train your team always follow these simple steps every time they need to undertake a right to work check, and be able to show evidence of the training if requested.  This will demonstrate that you will have complied with the legislation and allow you to establish a statutory excuse.

For advice on training and developing a robust procedure please contact us using the attached link (click here)