Baffled by right to work checks?

During the first quarter of 2018, the Home Office handed out £7.7 million in fines to employers who were found to be employing illegal workers. In addition, there was a well-publicised case of a director being disqualified and his company put into liquidation following being fined for having employed an illegal worker.

Employers have been under an obligation to carry out checks on employees since 2008. These checks have to be done before an individual starts work and copies must be kept in a format that cannot be altered, together with a secure record of the date on which the check was carried out, for the duration of the individual’s employment and for two years after their employment has ended.

Employers are expected to check the original documents and make sure they are not “reasonably apparent” to be forgeries. This puts a great deal of pressure on employers to understand the documents they are checking and what, if any, additional checks may be required. Employers are also faced with tricky situations where there has historically been few checks made, or a TUPE transfer situation where an employer inherits a workforce that hasn’t had their documents checked.

The government provides a wealth of guidance and information but for many employers there is neither the time nor the resource to constantly keep up to date and understand what to do in tricky situations.

The most common problems experienced by employers are:

  • Knowing what to do when an employee’s visa has expired but they have submitted a new application
  • How to deal with existing staff who haven’t previously had their right to work documents checked
  • Understanding what documents show a right to work and what combinations of documents need to be seen where someone has a limited right to work
  • How to keep on top of right to work checks where someone only have a limited right to live and work in the UK

At MLP, our Business Immigration team is on hand to help you through the complex guidance and give you peace of mind that you are complying with your obligations. We can carry out right to work audits to ensure you are up to date, along with training for your staff so they feel confident they can carry out the checks that are required.

If you would like to know more about how we can help you, our team would be happy to discuss this with you further. Please contact us on 0161 820 7695 or by email to