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Procedure for undertaking right to work checks

Undertaking right to work checks is a three step process as set out below.

For a comprehensive overview of how to undertake right to work checks, please see the briefing held on 23 June 2021, recorded by the Immigration and Compliance Manager.

Step 1: Obtain the document

Note: For new starters of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals where taking a right to work check from 1 July 2021 onward, you can no longer accept a passport or ID card as evidence. Please see below for the types of documents you can accept instead.

The types of documents that employers can accept as evidence of right to work is governed in law and are set out in two distinct lists:

  • List A contains the range of documents which you may accept for a person who has an permanent and unrestricted right to work in the UK. This includes all UK citizens, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, and their family members, where granted settled status, and non-EEA nationals holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as settlement) or Right of Abode in the UK. For employees who can prove their right to work by virtue of a document in List A, the University will establish a continuous statutory defence for the duration of that person’s employment. On that basis, we do not have to conduct any further document checks. 
  • List B contains the range of documents which may be accepted for a person who has a temporary/restricted right to work in the UK. This includes all non-UK nationals subject to immigration control who require a visa to prove their right to work in the UK, or where holding pre-settled status. For employees who can prove their right to work by virtue of a document in List B, the University will establish a time-limited statutory excuse to employ them. On that basis, in order to retain our statutory excuse, the University is required to conduct further checks at the point that time-limit expires (which is usually their visa expiry date). Further details on this process can be found with the Visa expiry guidance.

Step 2: Check the document

From 1 July 2021, you will be able to check a person’s right to work by undertaking either a ‘manual’ or an ‘online’ check. The type of check you can undertake will depend on the person’s  nationality, as follows:

  • UK Citizens and Irish Citizens, where presenting either a passport or a birth certificate as evidence, can only undertake a ‘manual’ check - that being checking their physical document. See our guidance  below in 'How to undertake a ‘manual’ check'.
  • EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens where applying for a visa do not receive a vignette inside their passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP); rather, they receive a 'digital immigration status'. This can only be viewed online. See our guidance below in 'How to undertake an ‘online’ check'.
  • Non-EEA nationals where presenting a BRP can undertake either a 'manual' or an ‘online’ right to work check; whichever is most convenient to the individual or the recruiting department/institution. See our guidance below.
How to undertake an online check

We have detailed guidance on how to undertake an online right to work check, alongside visual examples of the types of online checks you may see, in this document:

How to undertake a manual check

The key points where undertaking a manual check are that you must:

  • Undertake the check in the presence of the holder.
  • Check that photographs and dates of birth are consistent across documents and with the person’s appearance.
  • Ensure that the expiry dates of any limited leave to enter or remain in the UK have not passed.
  • Check if there are any UK Government endorsements (stamps, visas, etc.) that would indicate if the individual can undertake the work in question or if any restrictions apply (e.g. Student visa holders)
  • Satisfy yourself that the documents are valid and genuine, have not been tampered with (this only requires a 'reasonable check' of the document) and belongs to the holder.
  • Obtain an additional document if the individual provides two documents that have different names, and ask them to explain the reason. The additional document could be a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, a deed poll or statutory declaration.

      The Home Office provides guidance on examining identity documents. However, for right to work purposes you are only expected to undertake ‘reasonable checks’ on a document. If you are concerned about the validity of any documents or stamps presented to you, please contact the HR Compliance Team.

      Step 3: Copy the document

      A document can only be copied and verified by a member of staff /TES temp at the University. Third parties cannot be used.

      For any document, you must copy the following in a format that cannot be altered (for example a PDF):

      • Where presented with a passport. Please copy and verify the 'bio-data' page of the passport, and where applicable take a copy, and verify, the UK visa inside the passport which shows that the holder is entitled to undertake the work in question; or
      • Where presented with a Biometric Residence Permit, both sides must be copied and verified. We also require a copy of the person's passport but this does not need to be verified as it is for payroll purposes only; or
      • Where undertaking an ‘online check’, a copy of the checklist which denotes the person’s details and entitlement to work in the UK. We also require a copy of the person's passport but this does not need to be verified as it is for payroll purposes only.

      Verification of copied document

      Where a document is required to be verified (as outlined above), you must provide your signature and print your name and the date and time to confirm that you have seen the original document. You must also include the statement ‘I confirm that this is a true copy of the original, taken on [DATE AND TIME].

      When to undertake the check

      Where possible, please ask an individual to demonstrate their right to work at interview stage, by way of the documents listed in Step 1 above. 

      If it is not possible to undertake the check at interview stage, and where a job offer has been made, the indivdual must evidence their right to work before employment starts. If the individual presents their documents on their first day of work, the certified copy must be dated and timed. Separate evidence must then be presented to demonstrate that the individual did not start work before the check was undertaken. For example:

      Mr S is due to start work on 1 September. Prior to this date, the department send Mr S a Welcome Letter which details that he should arrive for work at 9.30am, and will start work at 10am followiing completion of the right to work check. The right to work check is undertaken at 9.40am, and his passport and visa are dated and timed accordingly. On this basis he is free to start work at 10am. The certified copies of right to work and a copy of the welcome letter must then be uploaded into Web Recruitment.

      Breaks in Service

      The University will allow returning employees to 're-use' their previous right to work check (where it remains valid), as taken for the purposes of their previous employment at the University, provided there has not been a break in service, following the end of their previous employment i.e. no more than 7 days (which must include a Saturday and a Sunday) from date previous employment ended. 

      In all other cases, right to work must be re-taken before the new employment commences, following a break in service (for any reason).