Can Employers Conduct Right to Work Checks on Temporary Workers?

This guide explains what employers must do when conducting right-to-work checks on potential employees. Learn about digital checks, follow-up checks, and more.

Can Employers Conduct Right to Work Checks on Temporary Workers?

This guide explains what employers must do to prevent illegal work in the UK by carrying out checks on people's right to work before hiring them. Labor law states that every new employee must be subject to right-to-work (RTW) controls, to ensure they are allowed to work legally in the UK. Of course, it's particularly important if you're hiring from abroad. If the potential employee is a foreign citizen with a biometric work or residence permit, the right to work of these individuals can only be verified online.

The guidance was updated to provide more information to employers on how to verify the right to work of citizens of the EEA and Switzerland during the grace period (January 1 to June 30, 2002). Employees who submit a valid document from List B as proof of their right to work will need to undergo a follow-up check to ensure they can continue to work legally in the UK. Currently, digital checks using IDPs are only available to holders of valid British or Irish passports or Irish passport cards. Employers must keep copies of any document, such as passports or shared codes, to demonstrate that the RTW verification was performed properly. If your employee's right to work is limited in time, you'll need to check their documents again when they expire.

When a right to work check confirms that there is a time limit to the right of EU employees to work in the UK, a follow-up check must be carried out before the expiry date. If you are found to have failed in your responsibility as an employer to prove your right to work, HMRC will impose a penalty notice on you. If current employees have limited permission to stay and work, you should be sure to schedule and perform a follow-up check before their current leave period expires. By properly verifying documents related to the right to work, employers should be able to rely on a legal defense against allegations of non-compliance, where they can demonstrate that they have taken consistent and compliant measures to ensure that they only hire people with permission to work in the United Kingdom. You'll only have to use this service if you can't check online the candidate's right to work with their shared code or check the candidate's original documents.

Depending on the person's immigration status at the time of verification, there will be different requirements as to the type of documents that will be reviewed and retained. Employers should also use the ECS (Employer Checking Service) to ask the Ministry of the Interior to check a person's immigration status if they have an application registration card or a digital or non-digital application certificate stating that they must ask the Ministry of the Interior for verification of their right to work. Employers must ask all interviewees or staff members who hold a UK green card for an exchange code when performing RTW checks. Employers can only rely on the legal excuse for imposing civil sanctions if they follow the guidelines on digital controls of law for working.