Right to Work (RTW) checks

Right to Work (RTW) checks

UK employers are obliged by law to ensure that any individual they employ has a right to work in the UK and is not in breach of their conditions to stay in the country.

Employing illegal workers is a civil offence (if committed negligently) or a criminal offence (if committed knowingly) and carries considerable penalties of up to £20,000 per illegal employee as well as other consequences such as criminal prosecution, revocation of the business’ Tier 2 Sponsorship licence and reputational harm.

In order to avoid employing illegal workers, employers must carry out Right to Work checks to ensure that all their (prospective) employees have permission to work in the UK.

These checks must be performed before a new employee begins working and they must be carried out for all workers regardless of their nationality and immigration status in order to avoid indirect discrimination. If done correctly, a Right to Work check will act as a defence if there are later any issues with the immigration or employment status of an employee.

How to carry out a RTW check

To avoid any liabilities, employers should take the following steps to ensure that prospective employees have the right to work in the UK:

Step 1: obtain an original document or several documents which establish the individual’s right to work in the UK. The Home Office lists the specific documents which are admissible for Right to Work checks on its website.

Step 2: check the validity (to the best of their ability) of the documents in the presence of the holder.

Step 3: make copies of and securely retain the appropriate documentation.  Also make a note of the date the check was carried out, as well as of the date(s) repeat checks must be made. The records must be kept for the duration of the individual’s employment and for an additional 2 years after they have left the employment.

How NA Law Solicitors can help

We are a niche immigration law firm specialising in all aspects of UK and EU migration law. If you have any questions on Right to Work checks or other related issues, please get in touch.

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