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

Immigration Enforcement

October 18
16:39 2023

You can find the previous version of this guide at the National Archives, along with earlier versions


This guidance explains what employers must do to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out right to work 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
  • how to carry out checks
  • when to carry out initial checks, follow-up checks, and what happens under TUPE
  • what documents are acceptable for a manual right to work check

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.

Published 16 May 2014
Last updated 18 October 2023 +show all updates
  1. Guidance updated, changes include removing the requirement for employers to verify a digital Certificate of Application (CoA) with the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS) when conducting a right to work online check involving an outstanding EU Settlement Scheme application made on or after 1 July 2021. Also the removal of reference to Immigration Enforcement 28-day notices in respect of EEA citizens and their non-EEA family members which are no longer in use.

  2. The adjustments to right to work checks introduced on 30 March 2020 as part of the response to COVID-19 ended on 30 September 2022.

  3. Updated to the latest version of the guidance.

  4. Updated information for employers carrying out right to work checks from 1 October.

  5. Added accessible version of employer's guide to right to work checks: 6 April 2022 and Ukrainian nationals and right to work checks.

  6. New Ukrainian nationals and right to work checks guide added.

  7. Added new version of right to work checks: an employer's guide, which came into force on 6 April 2022. A summary of the changes can be found in the guide.

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