Top 4 mistakes employers make with Right to Work

Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Top 4 mistakes employers make with Right to Work

  • 11 Jun 2020
  • |

    Joshua Welch, Screening Consultant

  • News archive
  • Every business, recruitment and hiring manager needs to ensure their job applicants are legally allowed to work in the UK before employment commences. 

    You do this by conducting a simple right to work check, in line with Home Office guidance, to make sure the applicant is not disqualified from carrying out the work through their immigration status.

    Get it wrong and you’re found to have employed someone who does not have the right to work in the UK, then the result could be penalties big enough to have a massive impact on the profitability of your business.

    • Fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker – Nearly £10.6m was issued in fines to businesses employing illegal workers without a statutory excuse from July – September 2019. Source: UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement Agency’s quarterly report.
    • Criminal liability – If an employer knowingly hires someone who does not have the right to work in the UK, the employer could be liable for up to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. The illegal worker can get six months imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
    • Reputational damage and adverse publicity – Unwanted press coverage as well as appearing on the public name and shame list on the Home Office website can significantly damage your business reputation, and take years to recover from.
    • Closure orders – For the most serious cases, a closure notice prevents work being undertaken on the employer’s premises.

    Here are the most common slip ups businesses make when conducting a right to work check:

    1. Incomplete copy of documents

    You must make a clear copy of each document which cannot manually be altered, and you must retain that copy securely.  The most common mistake is not copying the back of, for example, ID or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) cards.

    2. No date recorded when the Right to Work check was done

    You must retain a secure record of the date on which you made the check. Writing a date on the copy document does not confirm that this is the actual date when the check was undertaken. When writing a date on the copy document, you must also record that this is the date on which you conducted the check.

    3. No follow up checks

    If an employee’s right to work is time-limited by, say, the terms of their visa or Biometric Residence Permit, an employer must conduct a follow-up check shortly before the time limit expires, to ensure continued compliance.

    4. Failure to record student term dates

    For students who have limited permission to work during term-times, you must also obtain, copy and retain details of the academic term and holiday times during which they will be employed.

    How Access can help

    Access Right to Work is an easy to use mobile app and cloud-based management portal. In less than five steps it confirms an applicant’s eligibility to work in the UK, as well as storing proof of compliance. 

    Access Right to Work can help save time and costs, as well as improving the candidate experience.

    Download our Tackling Screening Guide for pre-employment screening advice.