Guidance

Right to work checks: an employer's guide

How to carry out right to work checks, why you need to do them, and which documents you can use.

Documents

An employer's guide to right to work checks: 31 August 2021

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Details

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 you’re 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.

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

Published 16 May 2014
Last updated 31 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Changes to the way those with outstanding applications to the EUSS evidence their right to work and changes to the lists of acceptable documents: a) removal of duplication from list B, group 1, no.5; b) amendment to list B, group 2, no.2 c) addition at list B, group 2, no.5. Extension to the COVID-19 temporary adjusted right to work checking process.

  2. Guidance updated with changes to the acceptable document list. Amendments also made to the section on ‘Outstanding UK EU Settlement Scheme applications made up to and including 30 June 2021’ and ‘EEA citizens without lawful immigration status after 30 June’.

  3. Guidance updated with changes to the way EEA citizens evidence their right to work.

  4. Updated to provide further guidance for employers on right to work checks for EEA and Swiss nationals during the grace period (1 January to 30 June 2021).

  5. Updated guidance includes information on right to work checks for EEA and Swiss nationals during the grace period (1 January to 30 June 2021).

  6. 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.

  7. Updated to add 28 January 2019 edition

  8. Attached updated guidance.

  9. Updated guidance.

  10. Updated guidance.

  11. Updated guidance on right to work checks.

  12. Updated guide

  13. Updated right to work document

  14. added link to new online employer checking service form

  15. Updated guidance, 28/07/2014.

  16. First published.