The importance of checking your employees’ right to work

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The importance of checking your employees’ right to work

Do you understand the basics around work eligibility and know how to check whether prospective employees are eligible to work in the UK? There are a few checks which are vital, including ensuring that potential or existing employees have the right to work in the UK, and as an employer, the obligation is on you to carry out the checks. 

Understanding eligibility

There are three scenarios which allow someone to work in the UK without a work permit. These are: if you’re a British citizen, you live in the European Economic Area or you’re a Swiss national.

Anyone who doesn’t fall into one of these categories will have to apply for a visa and/or a work permit. A word of caution – a visa will give an individual the right to be in the UK but not always the right to work.

If someone applies for a job without having the right to work, it’s up to their employer to apply for the work permit if they wish to make an offer of employment. An individual cannot apply for a work permit, and there are also different permit lengths which will need to be renewed.

Whose responsibility is it to check right to work eligibility?

An employer can’t claim ignorance when it comes to right to work checks. The onus is on the employer to know the status of everyone that they employ. If you are found to have illegal workers, the penalties can be steep.

The government can impose fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal employee. They can also revoke sponsorship or trading licences too, which can have a huge impact on business. With these ramifications, it’s imperative that you are completing the right checks during the recruitment process.

Knowing whether prospective employees have a right to work or not involves obtaining all of the correct documents, checking that they are valid and then storing the information in compliance with data laws. And remember, these checks need to be completed for every employee and re-checked when documents are due to expire. 

So, what about the everchanging world of Brexit? Citizens of the EU, EEA and Switzerland will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue to live and work in the UK.  The government’s Brexit preparation pages contain the most up to date information needed both for employees and employers (www.gov.uk/brexit).A straightforward solution to check eligibility

Thankfully, right to work checks are easier to do than ever before. We have a simple, hassle free, minimal cost online checker www.righttowork.info which helps to simplify the process and give you peace of mind that all your employees are legally allowed to work in the UK.

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