Are Your Employees Eligible To Work In The UK?

14 March 2016

Due to the increase in workers from abroad, now is the time for employers to make sure they are making the right checks on their employees’ eligibility. With a penalty of £20,000 and up to 2 years in prison for knowingly employing an illegal worker, the stakes have never been higher.

What can you do to reduce the risk of being affected?

Every single employer should be checking every single employee, even if you think someone is British and was born in the UK. If you are just checking employees based on their skin colour, accent or even a foreign sounding name, that in itself can be classed as discrimination.

A quick answer tool has been published online to help check eligibility. The good news for you is that the checks are relatively simple, and common sense is the main tool required. Ultimately, these checks will become part of your recruitment process and will become second nature to you.

  • Make sure you are provided with original documents, not photocopies.
  • Check all the details are valid and belong to the individual concerned.
  • Make copies and keep a record of when you undertook the ‘right to work’ check.

The process you undertake within your business should be water tight and, in the event of any incidents, will help defend you if you are accused of employing an illegal worker.

So make sure that you are protecting yourself now to avoid any penalties in the future.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at

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