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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/undocumented-commonwealth-citizens-resident-in-the-uk/guidance-for-employers-conducting-right-to-work-checks-on-undocumented-commonwealth-citizens
This information sets out what the Home Office will do to help employers wishing to offer a job to long-resident Commonwealth citizens (known as ‘Windrush’ cases) and other long-resident non-EEA nationals who have the legal right to live in the UK but do not have the documents to prove it.
1. Status and right to work
If a job applicant has lived in the UK permanently since before 1973 and has not been abroad for long periods within the last 30 years, they have the legal right to live and work here.
If a job applicant came to the UK after 1 January 1973 but before 1988, then they might not have an automatic right to be here, but if they apply to the Home Office now they may be allowed to stay here permanently and have the right to work.
2. What you should do
If a prospective employee is unable to present specified documentation in line with the prescribed right to work checks, but provides information to you indicating that they commenced their residence in the UK before 1988, you should contact the Employer Checking Service using the online form.
In these cases, the Employer Checking Service will notify the Windrush taskforce, which will contact the individual to confirm their circumstances and arrange for their status to be resolved.
Working with the Windrush taskforce, the Employer Checking Service will be able to confirm an individual’s right to work in these circumstances, and will do so by issuing a Positive Verification Notice (PVN).
A PVN issued by the Employer Checking Service will provide you with a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty in the event of illegal working. This statutory excuse has a duration of 6 months from the date stated in the PVN.
After 6 months, you should carry out the check again, by which point the individual may be able to provide documentation included in the acceptable document lists. If not, you should contact the Employer Checking Service again, in the usual way.
The Windrush taskforce will work to ensure the individual receives the documentation they require to evidence their lawful status and their right to work. In advance of you conducting a follow up check, the Home Office will contact you when an individual has received documentation from the Windrush taskforce.
3. Windrush Scheme Announcement (May 2018)
On 24 May, the Home Secretary announced a dedicated Windrush Scheme to make it easier for individuals to access support and understand what is on offer.
waiving the citizenship fee for anyone in the Windrush generation who wishes to apply for citizenship – this applies to those who have no current documentation, and also to those who have it
waiving the requirement to carry out a Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK test
waiving the fee for the children of the Windrush generation who are in the UK who need to apply for naturalisation
ensuring that those who made their lives here but have now retired to their country of origin, are able to come back to the UK – the cost of any fees associated with this process has been waived
ensuring that people who arrived after 1973 but before 1988 can also access the dedicated Windrush team so they can access the support and assistance needed to establish their claim to be here legally
We have also:
- established a new customer contact centre or Windrush Taskforce, so anyone who is struggling to navigate the many different immigration routes can speak to a person and get appropriate advice
We are in the process of:
- setting up a compensation scheme for people who have suffered loss – this will be run by an independent person and details of the consultation will be announced shortly