Hopefully most employers are familiar with the fact that they have a duty to conduct checks before taking on a new employee as to whether they have the right to work in the UK.  Last week we saw that a contract catering worker who had been working for two months at the House of Commons was arrested for having a forged passport and causing a potential major security breach.

Employers are reminded that there are quite significant obligations on checking whether a person has the right to work in the UK and face significant fines if they fail to conduct the appropriate checks. I regularly find that a lot of employers are a little confused as to what to do when a person is unable to produce the requisite documents to prove their right to work. If you are faced with a prospective employee who only has a certificate of application which indicates that work is permitted, or only has an Application Registration card stating that the holder is permitted to undertake work, or worse still, they are not able to produce any acceptable documents because they have an outstanding application or appeal pending with the Home Office and therefore cannot provide evidence of their right to work, what do you as an employer have to do?

In the case of any of the above instances, an employer must obtain a Positive Verification Notice to establish a statutory excuse from the Employer Checking service. If a Positive Verification Notice is obtained this is sufficient confirmation that the person is permitted to work in the job being offered to them. Conversely, if as an employer you receive a Negative Verification Notice then you will not have an excuse and may be liable for a substantial civil penalty if they are not permitted to undertake work.

The Home Office has a new tool on the following link www.gov.uk/legal-right-work-uk to assist Employers in establishing whether they need to make a check via the employer checking service.

If you remain unsure about whether your company is conducting the appropriate checks when taking on new employees and whether appropriate repeat checks are being carried out where employees who have been employed have a limited time on their visa, then please contact Dhruti Thakrar, the Immigration Partner at Edwin Coe.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

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