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What is the Employer Checking Service?

The Employer Checking Service (ECS) is used to request verification from the Home Office that an individual has the right to work in the UK when they have an outstanding application or appeal and cannot present valid right to work documents when required. 

The ECS is found at

When is it used? 

  • New casual worker with outstanding visa application or appeal: before work commences.
  • New casual worker with an existing visa or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) vignette (sticker) in an expired passport: after the individual has applied for their UK visa/ILR to be reissued and before work commences.
  • Existing casual worker whose visa is coming up to expiry and who has submitted an application (a) to extend their existing permission, or (b) to switch to a different type of visa in the UK, or (c) for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or who has a pending appeal: ECS must be requested by day 21 after the existing visa expiry, at the latest, to verify right to work before the 28 days after expiry deadline, as the ECS response can take up to 5 working days to be received.

How is it used?

Important: these instructions are for use with casual workers only whose visas are due to expire. All ECS checks for employees and TES workers must be carried out by the HR Compliance Team.

Please follow the instructions below.

1. Get the individual's permission

Explain to the individual that you will use the ECS to verify their right to work and their permission is required, and request the following from them:

  • a signed copy of the permission letter; and
  • a copy of the application; and
  • confirmation of payment/that the application has been submitted.

Contact the HR Compliance Team for advice if you have any queries on acceptable documents showing an application or appeal has been submitted.

2. Additional information

In addition to the information you will find in their application and confirmation of payment, you will also need the following:

a. Role:

  • Job title
  • Hours worked/to be worked per week

b. Employer:

  • Business name (University of Cambridge)
  • Business type (HEI)
  • Contact information (your name, job title, business address, phone number and email address)
3. Start the check

Once you have the signed permission letter and the information you need, go to the ECS website and click Start now.

4. Confirm initial information


  • that the individual does not hold a UK or Irish passport or other document from the Home Office, or a digital immigration status; and
  • whether they already work for the University; and
  • the type of evidence they have supplied:
Options Notes
An ongoing application or appeal for leave to remain in the UK A UK visa application or an outstanding appeal or administrative review
An application for no time limit to be added to a new passport by someone who already has indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK No Time Limit application to transfer Indefinite Leave to Remain to a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)/online status
An application for transferring a current visa into a new passport/BRP/online status or applying for a replacement BRP Transfer of Conditions application
A Certificate of Application (COA) issued following submission of an application under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Issued to someone who has applied for pre-settled or settled status under the EUSS but has not yet received a decision
An Application Registration Card (ARC) for an asylum seeker stating that the holder is allowed to work Issued to someone who has applied for asylum in the UK but has not yet been granted Refugee status
Unable to produce valid BRP due to non-delivery or collection  
Unable to use Digital Right to Work service due to technical error  
Evidence to demonstrate the individual has settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) issued in a Crown Dependancy or is a Frontier Worker in the UK EUSS status issued in Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, or a Frontier Worker Permit
None of the above If you tick this box, you'll be told an ECS check isn't appropriate


5. Reference number

Enter their application reference number or case ID.

6. Submit the request
  • Enter the details for the casual worker, the role for which you're engaging them and employer; and
  • Confirm the data protection declaration; and
  • Submit the request.

Until you receive the outcome

If the visa expires before you receive the outcome, the individual can continue to work pending receipt of a Positive Verification Notice (PVN).

When you receive the outcome

You should receive a PVN within 5 working days after you submit the ECS request. The PVN will be valid until the earlier of (a) 6 months from the date of issue, or (b) the application/appeal submitted by the individual is decided. Contact the HR Compliance Team immediately if you receive a Negative Verification Notice or an unclear response. Please note that a Negative Verification Notice may result in immediate cessation of work.

Retain the PVN, with the documents you received from the individual, as evidence of right to work.

Upload the following as a 'right to work pack' to CCWS, replacing the existing right to work document, and update the visa expiry date:

  • The PVN; and
  • A copy of the email from the Employer Checking Service confirming the details submitted; and
  • A signed copy of the permission letter; and
  • A copy of the application; and
  • Confirmation of payment/that the application has been submitted.

Once the new BRP has been issued, carry out a repeat right to work check (ask the individual for a share code from Upload it to CCWS, replacing the 'right to work pack', and update the visa expiry date. Contact the HR Compliance Team immediately if the visa application/appeal is refused.

If the PVN is nearing expiry and the new visa or BRP has still not been issued, request a further ECS check, following the steps above.