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Procedure for undertaking right to work checks

Step 1: Obtain the document

Note: For new starters of EU/EEA/Swiss nationals from 1 January until 30 June 2021, you can continue to accept only a passport or ID card as proof of right to work.

The types of documents that employers can accept as evidence of right to work is governed in law through the Restrictions on Employment Order 2007 (as amended). The documents you may accept from an employee to demonstrate their right to work are set out in two distinct lists:

  • List A contains the range of documents which you may accept for a person who has a permanent and unrestricted right to work in the UK. This includes all UK, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals, and any non-EEA nationals holding Indefinite Leave to Remain (also known as settlement) or any individual holding 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 excuse 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-EEA nationals subject to immigration control who require a visa to prove their right to work in the UK. Further information on the types of visas that the University most commonly sees can be found in the HR Immigration webpages. 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 January 2021, EU/EEA/Swiss nationals who obtained a visa in advance of travel to the UK will not receive a visa inside their passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Instead they will be a granted a ‘digital status’. To complete the right to work check using the digital status, this must be verified online using the process outlined in the guidance below:

In all other cases, including British and Irish Citizens, and non-EU nationals holding visas/BRPs, a 'physical document' (i.e. passport, ID card, BRP etc.) must be presented to verify right to work.

Where these are presented Key points to remember 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 may undertake the role or if any restrictions apply (e.g. Tier 2 or 5 visa holders).
  • Satisfy yourself that the documents are valid and genuine, have not been tampered with and belong 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.

If you are presented with a particular document and you are unsure if the document entitles them to work in the UK, please see the right to work issues guidance in the first instance.

The Home Office provides guidance on examining identity documents, however, in the first instance, if you are concerned about the validity of any documents or stamps presented to you, please contact the Compliance Team.

Step 3: Copy the document

A document can only be copied and verified by a member of staff of the University. For each document, you must copy the following in a format that cannot be altered (for example a photocopy or scan):

  • A copy of the passport. this must include any page with the document expiry date, nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details and photograph. In most cases this will be the 'bio-data' page of the passport. You must also take copies of the UK visa and/or stamp inside the passport. This must show that the holder has an entitlement to be in the UK and is entitled to undertake the work in question.
  • For EU nationals who present an ID card, both sides of the document must be copied.
  • Both sides of a biometric residence permit (where held).
  • All other documents in their entirety.

Certification of copied document

On each copied page, you must provide your signature and print your name and the date and time to confirm that you have seen the original page or pages of the 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

We strongly recommend that each candidate brings evidence of their right to work at interview stage. If this is not possible, 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. Seperate 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 be sent to the HR New Appointment Team for the contract to be issued.

Breaks in Service

The University will allow returning employees to 're-use' their previous right to work check, 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).