'Right to Work Checks' by a UK Employer under UK Immigration Rules
All employers in the UK who employ staff under a contract of employment, service, or apprenticeship, must make Right to Work Checks before employing a new employee and at regular intervals.
It is the responsibility of employers to make sure that employees have the right immigration status that allows them to work.
How to conduct a right to work check?
Employers can conduct a manual check or an online check in the following manner:
- Obtain original documents to confirm the identity and immigration status.
- Check the document's validity in the presence of the holder.
- Make and retain a clear copy and record the date the check was made.
All copies of documents taken should be kept securely for the duration of the worker's employment and for two years afterwards. The copy must then be securely destroyed.
Conducting either the manual check or the online check as set out as per Home Office guidance and the Code of Practice will provide the employer with a statutory excuse.
What is a Statutory Excuse?
If you conduct the right checks as set out in the law, you will have a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty. This means that if you have correctly conducted right to work checks as required, you will not receive a civil penalty for an illegal worker.
The Right To Work check must be carried out by the employer as the check cannot be performed by a third party, such as a recruitment agency or your professional adviser so you must be very careful.
What are the sanctions against illegal working?
If you are found to be employing someone illegally and you have not carried out the prescribed checks, you may face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and in serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited fine along with other measures like cancellation of sponsor licence.
Penalties for the employee for illegal working
Working illegally is a criminal offence. Illegal workers face having their wages seized. They may also be prosecuted and can be imprisoned for up to six months.
Temporary Concessions due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) have been announced, however once the things return to normal you will be required to complete the Right to Work Checks.
HSMP Services Ltd., as an OISC registered Immigration Adviser, can help you comply with UK Immigration Rules. Please contact today.
HSMP Services Ltd.
Office Suite 27A,
23 Wharf Street,
London SE8 3GG
Ph: +44 203 637 4111
F: +44 203 137 3366