Obtaining and checking the correct right to work documentation is a critical part of the recruitment process. If an employer is found to be employing a person who does not have the right to work in the UK, the employer is at risk of receiving a fine of up to £20,000 per person.
Such a fine can be avoided presuming the employer can prove they carried out the appropriate checks. It is also important that recruitment practices are not discriminatory. In line with this it is advised that right to work checks should come closer to the end of the recruitment process rather than right at the beginning of the application stage.
With this in mind it is essential that employers know what documents are acceptable to prove an applicant’s right to work status.
A UK Passport is acceptable and can be used even if it is expired. It is down to the employer to check that they believe the photograph contained in the document matches the appearance of the person before them. They must also ensure the document is genuine. If there any doubts about this the employer could ask for extra proof in the form of a birth certificate and National Insurance number.
As of 2014 if an applicant has an indefinite leave to remain this must be contained in a passport that is current and has not expired. If the passport has expired the applicant must apply for a biometric residence card to prove their status. If the application has been started the employer can utilise the Home Office’s Employer Checking Service (ECS) to check if the applicant has the right to work. If the ECS provides notice that the person is entitled to work in the UK employment can begin.
The issue of right to work is complex and it is essential that employers provide their hiring staff with the appropriate training and have compliant procedures in place.
If you have any questions on any of the issues mentioned in the above article, please contact Natalia Milne.