As an employer, you want to ensure that you’re hiring the right people with the right skills to do the job. A lot of focus goes into reviewing their experience, qualifications and behaviours. But are you missing something? Have you carried out pre-employment screening checks?
You’re legally required to verify that all of your potential and existing employees are eligible to work in the UK via right to work checks. Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 came in to force on 27 January 1997 where basic eligibility checks were required. This changed in May 2004 when a more comprehensive list of documents were required and these documents were amended in 2008. The civil penalty of £20,000 was introduced in May 2014 and amended in 2016.
You must do this before you employ a person. It’s not enough to undertake the check on the first day of their employment, it needs doing in advance of their start date. You’re also required to conduct a follow-up check on people who have time-limited permission to work in the UK. With so many checks to do, you need to ensure you have the admin processes that help you manage it all.
“There’s been a growing number of spot checks carried out by the Home Office, particularly in sectors with highly changing workforces, such as retail, hospitality, manufacturing and construction.”
When done correctly, right to work checks can bring numerous benefits for an employer, such as managing risk and meeting legislation, while still providing candidates with a great experience too which is equally important.
Checking a person’s documents to determine if they have the right to carry out the type of work you are offering, comprises of three key steps:
1. Obtain the person’s original documents [as specified by the Home Office]
2. Check the validity of the documents in the presence of the applicant
3. Make and retain a clear copy of your check, and make a record of the date of the check
All employees must be checked
Checking that all the staff working for you have the right to work in the UK is one of the core duties of an employer. It’s not an extra, or a nice to have, it’s essential for all businesses, regardless of size or industry sector. You can be fined up to £20,000 per person for each member of staff who is found to not have the full right to work in the UK.
Checks are also required for temporary staff
All your existing employees need to provide you with evidence that they have the right to work in the UK. This includes permanent staff, full time or part time – regardless of their length of service; zero hours workers; fixed term contract workers; temporary workers; and work experience students or interns.
Make it a standard part of the recruitment process
Requesting proof of right to work in the UK has to be a standard part of the recruitment process. To avoid any discrimination claims, make sure that everyone is asked at the same stage in the recruitment process and that the same checks are applied to everyone. Never make assumptions about someone’s right to work in the UK based on their race or ethnicity, their accent, their age, time spent living in the UK, family connections or their education.
The repercussions can be severe. Organisations across industries need to know exactly who you’re employing to ensure you adhere to the immigration regulations.
How can Experian help?
Wondering how Experian can help and why you should process your right to work checks with us? It’s simple really. We can enable a paperless, automated and fast process – available for you anytime, anywhere that has verification built in for extra peace of mind.
Experian has created an easy to use app to help you save time, reduce the possibility of mistakes and manage risk through the screening process. It’s also great for businesses with multiple offices. The process is automated which reduces the risk of loss of paper documentation and leaves a clear audit trail.
If you have any concerns about your current right to work process, or want to reduce your risk of non-compliance, speak to us about automating your right to work checks at +44 (0) 844 481 5873 or visit our website to find out more and book a demo.