Right to work checks: employer guidance

How and why you should conduct a right to work check.

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 collection includes documents which provide guidance and support to employers conducting right to work checks to prevent illegal working. It includes:

  • guidance on preventing illegal working
  • how to carry out right to work checks
  • documents which are acceptable for the purposes of demonstrating a right to work

You can also read our quick guide to checking a job applicant’s right to work documents.

If you’re reasonably satisfied that the worker has an outstanding application with the Home Office that was made before their previous immigration permission expired or has an outstanding appeal or administrative review against a Home Office decision, you must get a Positive Verification Notice from the employer checking service. A Positive Verification Notice is needed to establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty in the event of illegal working.

Read the codes of practice to help you prevent illegal working and understand the fines (also known as civil penalties) for employing illegal workers.

The quarterly reports show the civil penalties for illegal working issued to non-compliant employers in each region of the UK.


Published 7 September 2018
Last updated 6 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. 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.

  2. Added a link to illegal working penalties: codes of practice for employers.

  3. First published.