HR & Employment Law Insights

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If you fail to do so you may be liable to pay a fine (known as a 'civil penalty'). If you knowingly employ an illegal migrant worker, you may face criminal prosecution, which could result in an unlimited fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

In this weeks question of the week, Alistair answers "What documents do I need to show employees are eligible to work in the UK?"

Question 

What documents do I need to show employees are eligible to work in the UK?

Answer

All employers in the UK have a responsibility to check the eligibility of everyone they plan to employ.
If you fail to do so you may be liable to pay a fine (known as a 'civil penalty'). If you knowingly employ an illegal migrant worker, you may face criminal prosecution, which could result in an unlimited fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.
The flowing documents are accepted to prove eligibility to work in the UK however, they must be the original documents:
  • A passport showing that the holder is a British citizen, or has the right of abode in the United Kingdom.
  • A document showing that the holder is a national of a European Economic Area country* or Switzerland. This must be a national passport or national identity card.
  • A residence permit issued by the United Kingdom to a national from the European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  • A passport or other document issued by the Home Office which has an endorsement stating that the holder has a current right of residence in the United Kingdom as the family member of a national from a European Economic Area country or Switzerland.
  • A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder can stay indefinitely in the United Kingdom, or has no time limit on their stay.
  • A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder can stay in the United Kingdom; and that this endorsement allows the holder to do the type of work the employer is offering if they do not have a work permit.
  • An Application Registration Card issued by the Home Office to an asylum seeker stating that the holder is permitted to take employment.
It is good practice to obtain these documents at the interview process, and if you have high volume recruitment you may want to do this at induction too - that way, you can demonstrate the person that you interviewed and offered the job to is the same person who commenced work.

Employers should copy the documents in their entirety and keep copies of the documents in the employee's file and until two years after the worker's employment ends. This will help you establish a statutory excuse if the UK Border Agency (UKBA) detects anyone working illegally for you.

Also, be aware of any foreign students who are working for you.  You need to check the number of hours they're permitted to work during term time and holidays - and ensure you don't have them working more hours than they're permitted to, as again this could cause you to be liable for a fine.

Should you have any further questions please let us know.