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All Employers Need To Make Sure Their Right To Work Checks Are Thorough

A recent court decision has affirmed the Home Office's decision to withdraw the sponsor licence of a major care home operator in the Northeast. This ruling serves as a stark reminder that, even with a decline in Home Office compliance visits due to the pandemic, adherence to sponsor licence requirements remains a serious matter. Non-compliance can result in substantial repercussions for employers. Compliance is a serious matter with the Home Office, and employers will need to make sure their ‘right to work checks’ are thorough.

What are ‘right to work’ checks?

Right to Work checks confirm that a new hire has the legal right to work in the UK before commencing their new job. Employers must examine acceptable documents that prove the employee's eligibility to work for them before making the employment official. Typically, this process is overseen by the Human Resources (HR) team.

This can be accomplished through:

  • A manual check
  • Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) through an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)
  • An online Home Office check

When is a ‘right to work’ check required?

A ‘right to work check’ is necessary whenever a potential employee is on the verge of employment. Whether the individual is a British citizen or a foreign national with indefinite leave to remain in the UK, they must undergo a Right to Work check. This requirement aims to prevent illegal working and establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty arising from employing someone without the right to work in the UK.

What documents need to be assessed?

The documents assessed must be the original ones. Only accepted documents are viable as proof of the right to work in the UK, including:

  • Passport (current or expired)
  • Immigration Status Document (current)
  • Birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK, Isle of Man, or Ireland
  • Certificate of British citizenship
  • Certificate of Application issued by the Home Office
  • Application Registration Card issued by the Home Office
  • Document issued by the Bailiwick of Jersey, the Bailiwick of Guernsey, or the Isle of Man

These documents demonstrate that the potential employee has the right to work in the UK or, at least, the right to work in that specific employment until the expiration of permission.

Copies of these documents must be retained either electronically or physically throughout their employment and for two years from the date of their leave. These records can be stored in the employee’s HR file.

What happens if the job applicant cannot show their documents?

If the job applicant is unable to present the required documents, you must seek permission from the applicant to ask the Home Office to check their immigration status via the Employer Checking Service. If the applicant only possesses a Certificate of Application or an Application Registration Card, indicating that their right to work must be verified by the Home Office, it should be done using the online service.

WorkPermitCloud understands how ‘right to work’ checks can get a little complicated at times, which is why we offer solutions to make this process easier and more efficient for you. Get in touch with us now to find out more.


Md Lutfur Rahman FCILEx

Immigration Advisor and Commissioner of Oath

Managing Director

Work Permit Cloud Limited

Let us help you with your Skilled Worker Sponsor Licence UK