UK Gov - Home Office Logo - Right to Work

All employers are expected to comply with the law and ensure their employees have the right to work in the UK by carrying out the correct checks.

Right to Work involves three simple steps:

  • OBTAIN
    the employee’s original identity documents listed in the Home Office guidance via gov.uk
  • CHECK
    the documents are valid with the employee present.
  • COPY
    and keep the documents securely. Record the date of the check

Why do we need to Prevent Illegal Working?

The ability to work illegally is a key driver of illegal migration. It leaves people vulnerable to exploitation and results in unscrupulous employers undercutting compliant businesses. It can also negatively impact on the wages of lawful workers and is linked to other labour market abuse such as tax evasion, breach of the national minimum wage and exploitative working conditions, including modern slavery in the most serious cases

What are the sanctions against illegal working?

Illegal working is tackled through a ‘whole government approach’, with greater coordination across agencies in government, including HMRC, to ensure that illegal working is detected more effectively, through the sharing of intelligence and joint enforcement operations. When illegal working is identified, a range of sanctions are applied.

If you are found to be employing someone illegally and you have not carried out the prescribed checks, you may face sanctions including:

  • a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker;
  • in serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years and an unlimited fine;
  • closure of the business and a compliance order issued by the court;
  • disqualification as a director;
  • not being able to sponsor migrants;
  • seizure of earnings made as a result of illegal working; and
  • review and possible revocation of a licence in the alcohol and late night refreshment sector and the private hire vehicle and taxi sector.
For more advice on checking requirements, employers can visit gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work

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