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Guidance: Right to work checks: an employer's guide

Immigration Enforcement

December 21
11:41 2020

An employer's guide to right to work checks: 17 December 2020

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Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) there are temporary changes to the way you can check documents. Read guidance about the adjusted process, including asking for documents digitally, making checks on a video call, and what to do if someone cannot provide any accepted documents.

This guidance explains what employers must do to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out document checks on people before employing them to make sure they are allowed to work.

You should use it to find out:

  • what a right to work check is
  • why you need to do right to work checks
  • whose documents you should check
  • how to carry out checks
  • when to carry out initial checks, follow-up checks and what happens under TUPE
  • what documents are acceptable

Check if someone can work in the UK using our quick answer tool.

If youre reasonably satisfied that the worker has an outstanding application with the Home Office that was made before their previous leave expired or has an outstanding appeal against a Home Office decision, you can get a Positive Verification Notice from the Employer Checking Service.

The employer guidance collection includes all documents for employers on preventing illegal working.

The new guidance dated 17 December 2020 has replaced the version dated 28 January 2019. You should still refer to this earlier guidance if the employment of illegal workers occurred between 28 January 2019 and 17 December 2020.

You can view previous versions of the guidance by visiting The National Archives.

We are aware this publication may have accessibility issues. We are reviewing it so that we can fix these.

Read more about our accessible documents policy.

Published 16 May 2014
Last updated 21 December 2020 +show all updates
  1. Updated guidance includes information on right to work checks for EEA and Swiss nationals during the grace period (1 January to 30 June 2021).

  2. Because of coronavirus (COVID-19) there are temporary changes to the way you can check documents. Added a link to guidance about the adjusted process.

  3. Updated to add 28 January 2019 edition

  4. Attached updated guidance.

  5. Updated guidance.

  6. Updated guidance.

  7. Updated guidance on right to work checks.

  8. Updated guide

  9. Updated right to work document

  10. added link to new online employer checking service form

  11. Updated guidance, 28/07/2014.

  12. First published.

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