RIGHT TO WORK CHECK UK: An Employer & Employee’s Guide

how to check and prove your right to work in the UK as an employee

There are certain rules guiding the right to work policies in the UK. An employer will, before employing you, need to check your right to work in the UK. Basically, you will have to prove your right to work to an employer to be considered for employment. In this article, you will find out how to check and prove your right to work in the UK as an employee. But first, let’s take a look at the right to work check in the United Kingdom and what it comprises.

Right-to-Work Check

The Home Office uses a right to work check to guarantee that each employee or casual worker has the legal right to work in the UK before they start working. People with a limited right to work in the UK (i.e., those with a document such as a visa) must also undergo a new check before their visa or document expires. To prove your right to work to an employer, you will have to share details of your right to work in the UK, such as:

  • The kinds of jobs you can do during your stay
  • How long can you work in the United Kingdom?

You will also need one of the following:

  • Number of your biometric residency permit
  • The number on your biometric residency card
  • Your national identity card or passport

Students/Student Visa Holders in the Workforce

Keep in mind that most student visa holders can only work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Please have a student fill out the Student Employment Declaration form before hiring them to ensure that they are not working for another company and that their visa enables them to work full-time outside of class.

For further information, see the pages on hiring student visa holders.

When a Student/Tier 4 visa holder files for a change to a Skilled Worker visa, they can start working while their application is undergoing the review process. See Transitioning from a Student/Tier 4 to a Skilled Worker Visa for further details. 

How to Check an Employee’s Right to Work UK

There are two common ways to check an employee right to work in the UK.

You can check the applicant’s right to work online, with their share code.

Check details of a job applicant’s right to work in the UK, including:

  • The type of work they’re allowed to do
  • How long they can work in the UK if there’s a time limit

You’ll need the job applicant:

  • Date of birth
  • Right to work share code

You can also check someone’s original documents instead – for example, if you do not have a share code.

Check Right To Work UK

Your right to work in the UK is determined by your immigration status, generally known as your ‘leave’. You might be eligible to apply for it if you don’t have the right to work. If you meet the following criteria, you are instantly eligible to work in the UK:

  • If you’re a citizen of the UK or Ireland
  • You hold EU Settlement Scheme pre-settled or settled status, or you’ve applied and are awaiting a decision.
  • If you have an EU Settlement Scheme family permit.
  • You have indefinite permission to enter or remain in the UK.
  • You have a right of abode in the UK.

If you hold a limited-term visa, you may be able to work in the UK. Restricted leave to enter or remain’ is a term used to describe this situation. You do not have the right to work in the UK if your entry into the country is illegal. Same if your leave has expired.

Before beginning any work, it is important to undertake a right-to-work check. To establish a right to work, a physical document check or an internet check would do. Although we will discuss each strategy below, pulse you don’t have to use both. A physical check will be the next only option if an online check is not possible.

Physical Document Right to Work

The eligible documents are two separate lists of documents (List A and List B)

List A

With the list A document, you will not be able to conduct any subsequent right-to-work checks on this person after the initial pre-employment check. The organization will have a continuous statutory excuse throughout the duration of the person’s employment with the firm. The employer with a continuous statutory excuse for the duration of the employee’s employment.

List B Group 1

This document provides the employer with a statutory excuse that lasts till the person’s right to stay in the UK expires. Additional screening will be required for those who present documents from List B. These documents may include.

  • A valid passport is endorsed to prove that the holder is permitted to remain in the United Kingdom and is currently authorized to perform the work in issue.
  • A current Biometric Immigration Document (Biometric Residence Permit) issued by the Home Office to the bearer. This should indicate that the identified person is currently permitted to work in the United Kingdom.
  • A current Residence Card (including an Accession Residence Card or a Derivative Residence Card) is issued by the Home Office to a non-EU national who is a family member of an EU or Swiss national or who has a derivative right of residence.
  • A valid endorsement indicates that the named person may stay in the UK and is allowed to do the type of work in question. This also should include an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer, together with a current Immigration Status Document containing a photograph issued by the Home Office to the holder with a valid endorsement indicating that the named person may stay in the UK and is allowed to do the type of work in question.

List B Group 2

You have a six-month statutory excuse that begins on the date mentioned in your Positive Verification Notice. However, this ends six months afterwards. It indicates that you should conduct additional inspections before the alert expires.

  • A Certificate of Application issued by the Home Office to a family member of a national of a European Economic Area country or Switzerland under regulation 17(3) or 18A (2) of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, stating that the holder is permitted to take employment that is less than 6 months old, along with a Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office Employer Checking Service.
  • A Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office Employer Checking Service, along with an Application Registration Card from the Home Office certifying that the bearer is entitled to take the job in question.
  • The Home Office Employer Checking Service issues a Positive Verification Notice to the employer or potential employer, indicating that the listed person is allowed to stay in the UK and perform the work in question.

Only documents from these lists are acceptable as proof of a right to work.

Online Document Right to Work Checks

Employers can – and in some cases, must – use the Home Office’s free online checking service to meet their requirements. You will need this to perform right-to-work checks on employees in certain circumstances. You can check your legal right to work online with a biometric residence permit, a biometric residence card, an electronic visa, or a status issued under the EU settlement scheme). To gain access to your online record, you must generate a share code before a check can be written.

Employers will be able to verify the right to work status of Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders using the Home Office online service starting April 6, 2023. Physical BRPs, BRCs, and FWPs will no longer be accepted as proof of right to work, even if they have a later expiration date.

If an online check isn’t practicable, the employer should continue to review documents manually.

When to use the Online Check Tool

In any of the following situations, you should utilize the online tool to check an employee’s immigration status:

  • Because of a pending appeal, review, or application with the Home Office, the employee is unable to present their paperwork.
  • The employee has an application certificate that is less than six months old.
  • An Application Registration Card is on the employee’s person.
  • The employee is a Commonwealth citizen who arrived in the United Kingdom before 1988.

Please note that if you are requesting a background check and the potential or current employee has a Certificate of Application or an Application Registration Card that is less than six months old, you will need to view the original form of the document.

Do keep in mind that only people with a BRP, EU Settlement Scheme status, or EEA nationals with an electronic visa can utilize the online right to work check.

Employee Right To Work Check

Employers have a legal obligation to prevent illegal employment in the UK while also avoiding unlawful discrimination. The consequences of failing to check employees’ right to work can be costly and harmful to an organization’s professional reputation. This could also mean disqualifying the company from bidding on any governmental contracts.

It is the employer’s obligation to check that a potential employee has the right to work in the United Kingdom. If an employer hires or continues to employ someone who does not produce the required documentation as proof of their ability to work in the United Kingdom, the company might face a civil penalty of up to £20,000. Employers should always give potential employees the opportunity to demonstrate their right to work while keeping the employment offer open. However, if a corporation wants to hire quickly, it is not required to maintain the recruitment period open-ended.

Common Right to Work Documents

When doing manual right-to-work checks to confirm eligibility to work in the UK, employers are typically confronted with the following documents. These must be in their original state. It will be critical to confirm that any documents submitted match the relevant list.

A passport or a national identification card is a document that identifies a person

Check to see if the potential employee is a British citizen, a UK citizen, or has indefinite leave to remain and the right to dwell in the UK.

The Border Agency issues a biometric immigration document that must state whether the person can stay eternally or whether there is no time limit on their stay.

Similarly, confirm that the listed person’s Immigration Status Document has been approved by the Home Office, Border and Immigration Agency, or UK Border Agency and that it states that the named person can stay permanently, has the right to reside, or has no time limit on their stay. You should also inquire about their National Insurance number, which they should have received from a government agency or past employment.

Certificate of Birth or Adoption

A birth certificate must be issued in the United Kingdom or the Channel Islands, and one or more parents must be mentioned. In addition, get a government document containing their social security number and name.

Certificate of Registration or Naturalization

You should ask for a government document that shows the possible worker’s National Insurance number and name, as well as a name and address.

Official Letter from the UK Government

Alternatively, the worker may have received a letter from the Home Office or immigration authorities stating that they have been granted permission to remain in the country indefinitely. This, too, should be accompanied by a document containing their national insurance number and name in the United Kingdom.

Bottom Line

Individuals granted indefinite leave to remain, on the other hand, are exempt from UK immigration and work restrictions. Regardless of a person’s country of origin, race, or immigration status, they must show proof of their right to work to a potential employer. This includes both British and EU people.

Employers must put in place a system for undertaking the required right-to-work document checks in a consistent manner that does not discriminate against or apply solely to people of a certain country or race.


What documents do you need for right to work check?

  • Passport.
  • Permanent resident card.
  • National identity card.
  • Registration certificate.
  • Biometric immigration document.
  • Immigration status document.
  • Birth or adoption certificate.
  • Certificate of registration or naturalisation.

How do you check if someone has a right to work in the UK?

The UK government provides an easy-to-use tool for determining someone’s legal right to work. Because rules are subject to change based on decisions made by the UK government or the European Union, this is the most up-to-date source of information.

How long does it take for a right to work check?

Right to Work checks might take anywhere from 5 to 20 working days, depending on the employer.

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