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Right to work checklist


In the United Kingdom, the process of verifying an employee’s legal right to work is a critical aspect of hiring and managing a workforce. To help employers navigate this process, the UK government has recently updated its “Right to work checklist” guidance. This comprehensive checklist is designed to assist employers in verifying that their employees have the legal right to work in the UK, reducing the risk of employing illegal workers and potential legal consequences. In this article, we will explore the key aspects of the updated guidance and its implications for businesses.

The right to work checklist is a tool provided by the UK government to help employers conduct thorough checks to verify the immigration status of their employees. It outlines the steps that employers should take to establish a statutory excuse against liability for employing illegal workers. By following the checklist, employers can demonstrate that they have carried out the necessary checks and are not knowingly employing individuals who do not have the right to work in the UK.

The updated guidance provides detailed instructions on how to conduct right to work checks, including:

  • Obtaining original documents: Employers must check and retain original documents that prove an individual’s right to work in the UK. These documents include passports, biometric residence permits, and certain residence cards.
  • Checking documents in the presence of the employee: Employers must check documents in the presence of the employee to ensure their authenticity.
  • Retaining copies of documents: Employers should make and retain copies of the documents checked, along with a record of the date the check was made.
  • Conducting follow-up checks: For employees with time-limited permission to work in the UK, employers must conduct follow-up checks to retain their statutory excuse.

The right to work checklist was most recently updated on the 9th of April 2024 and applies to the United Kingdom.

right to work checklist

Does the right to work checklist affect my business?

The updated “Right to work checklist” guidance has several implications for businesses, including:

  • Compliance requirements: Businesses must ensure they are compliant with the new guidance to avoid penalties for employing illegal workers.
  • Administrative burden: Conducting thorough right to work checks and maintaining accurate records can be administratively burdensome for businesses, especially those with a large workforce.
  • Legal risks: Failing to comply with the guidance can result in civil penalties and reputational damage for businesses.

By following the guidance, businesses can mitigate the risk of employing illegal workers and ensure they are compliant with immigration laws. It is essential for businesses to familiarise themselves with the updated guidance and implement the necessary measures to protect themselves and their workforce.

Do I need the right to work checklist in my ISO Compliance Register?

The updated guidance applies to all employers in the UK, regardless of their size or industry. However, certain sectors, such as hospitality, construction, and healthcare, which often rely on migrant labor, may be particularly affected. These businesses must ensure they are following the guidance to avoid legal and financial repercussions.

If this includes your business we strongly recommend including this guidance in your ISO Compliance Register.

Legislation related to the right to work checklist

Legislation related to the right to work checklist include:

  • Immigration Act 2016
  • Modern Slavery Act 2015
  • Employment Rights Act 1996

More information

Visit the “Right to work checklist” on the website.

Create an account in the ISO Compliance Register App and add this article to your Register.