Can Employers Legally Verify Non-UK Citizens' Right to Work?

The control of the right to work is a legal requirement in the UK, and employers must carry out such checks on all new employees. The purpose of the control is to guarantee that the person has the legal right to work in the country and to prevent the employment of illegal workers. To prove their right to work, applicants must show their employer their ARC. Employers may also need to contact the Ministry of the Interior to validate that they have the right to work.

It is essential for employers to understand that they may need to use a different document or contact the Home Office's Employer Check Service (ECS) depending on the type of license they have. Veremark specializes in verifying the right to work, as well as many other background checks prior to hiring and selecting employment. Background checks also guarantee that candidates are legally authorized to perform certain functions, and if criminal and credit checks are not met, they could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or performing financial functions. Simple identity checks can be done in as little as a few hours, but a global criminal background check, for example, can take several weeks.

Ensuring Compliance with Right to Work Checks

Employers must implement a system to consistently verify required right to work documents and that does not illegally discriminate or apply only to people of a certain nationality or race.

During the manual verification of the right to work, employers must obtain the original documents from one of two lists. The length of the right to work will depend on the circumstances of each worker, but a verification usually takes between one and four weeks. If an employee is still waiting for the Ministry of the Interior to process their application (and this documentation was submitted before their previous license expired), companies may still be able to get a pass at the check service. It is worth noting that, as an important part of pre-hire verifications, right to work verifications are carried out during the hiring process and apply to all potential employees, regardless of their nationality, race, or ethnicity.

If employers are found to have hired someone they know didn't have the right to work in the UK or had reasonable reason to believe they didn't have one, they can be sentenced to five years in prison and forced to pay an unlimited fine.

Prioritizing Right To Work Verification

Ensuring that adequate procedures are in place to verify the right of job applicants to work in the UK, demonstrate the validity of documents and check regularly if necessary should be a key priority in the pre-employment phase.

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