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Do Your Employees Have the “Right to Work”?

May 27, 2016
Are you checking your workers right to work? 

You need to check the right to work of each worker before they start working for you. In order to do this you must see the workers original document providing evidence of their right to work. A scan or photocopy is not acceptable.

The documents may be their passport or ID card and, if they are from outside of the European Economic Area, a visa in their passport or a biometric residence permit. You are required to check that the worker’s name and appearance match the details in the document, whether any visa has expired and if the document is valid. If you believe the document might not be valid you should not employ them until you have carried out further checks.

You must keep evidence of the checks that you have carried out and the date on which you conducted your checks. You will need to keep either a paper copy or electronic copy (or both) of each of the documents for the term of the workers employment and for a minimum of 2 years after their employment has ended. 

The Home Office can make an Information Request, demanding information about a current or former employee whom the Home Office suspects has been working illegally in the UK. The letter is likely to advise that your company may be liable to pay a civil penalty and ask you to provide evidence of having checked the right to work of one or more of your staff.

If you receive an Information Request from the Home Office you must respond within the timeframe set out in the request, providing full details and evidence of having taken steps to do checks. 

If you don’t provide the evidence required within the timeframe, or the Home Office is not convinced that you have a statutory excuse against a civil penalty, then they could fine your company up to £20,000 per illegal worker. If they suspect that you have knowingly employed someone illegally you could face an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years. 

Once the Immigration Act 2016 comes into effect, on 12 July 2016, any employer who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that someone is working illegally could face up to five years in prison. 

If you would like more information please contact Ezra Moffatt on 0333 400 7920 or email enquiries@employassisthr.co.uk