It is not mandatory for employers to monitor the right to work of self-employed workers, but companies may choose to do so in order to avoid any negative publicity that could arise from their identification as illegal workers. Genuinely self-employed individuals, such as those who work under a service contract, are not required to have their right to work checked. Self-employed people are not paid through PAYE and do not have the same rights and responsibilities as employees. It is the responsibility of the worker to inform HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if they believe they are self-employed.
This guide explains what employers must do in order to prevent illegal work in the UK, by verifying people's right to work before hiring them and ensuring that they are legally allowed to work. Unfortunately, there may be times when a person cannot access the online right to work verification system in order to generate a shared code. Employers can check a person's employment status online in order to determine whether a worker should be classified as an employee or self-employed. To check if someone is employed or self-employed for tax purposes, use HMRC's employment status verification tool. If their employment situation is incorrect, both the individual and their employer may have to pay outstanding taxes and fines or lose their right to benefits.
Once a person has successfully applied for a new visa, a new verification of the right to work must be carried out. If the application is submitted on time, the individual will be able to continue working for the company, subject to the terms of their expired visa. Self-employed individuals do not have the same rights and responsibilities as employees or workers. However, employers can choose to check the right to work of contractors and self-employed individuals in order to avoid any negative public relations that could arise from their status as illegal workers and any disruption that could result from their expulsion from the company. If an employer knowingly hires someone who has no right to work in the UK, they could face up to five years in jail (while the illegal worker would face six months).