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Right to work audit

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All UK employers are required to ensure that anyone employed under a contract for service or apprenticeship has the right to work in the UK, including those who claim to be UK or European Economic Area (EEA) nationals.

An employer must check specified documentation before the individual commences work and, in certain circumstances, undertake repeat checks on an annual basis. There are also specific rules on exactly what documents must be copied and in what form. If an employer breaches the requirements on right to work checks, it may find itself subject to hefty criminal and/or civil penalties, including fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and five years' imprisonment. This is also likely to result in damage to reputation and, for those of you who have a 'Licence to Sponsor', your licence could be revoked.

Recent changes to the legislation, as well as significant increase in the number of published prosecutions by the Home Office, means that it is increasingly important that all employers have a robust process in place to ensure that they can evidence that staff have the right to work in the UK.

In our experience, problems can arise, for instance, after a worker's appointment has commenced or where the employing entity comes under new ownership, and either the correct document checks have not been done or the documents were fraudulent. By this point it can be too late to rely on potential defences.

Are those who are responsible for undertaking document checks in your organisation always entirely clear on the requirements? If not, we can offer a low fixed fee audit, to assist you in ensuring that you don't fall foul of this legislation.

How does this work?

  • we will review existing personnel files (number to be agreed with you), to assess whether they would meet legislative requirements
  • we will talk through the requirements, with those responsible for undertaking the checks, to ensure their understanding and compliance with government guidance on right to work checks is accurate
  • we will make recommendations for improvements/ changes
  • we can provide you with a comprehensive written report summarising the above
  • we can provide training for those responsible for recruitment so that they are clear on their obligations going forwards.

Why do you need Browne Jacobson to do this?

  • we have a track record of advising clients on their right to work obligations
  • we are permitted by the UKVI/Home Office to provide immigration advice
  • we employ HR consultants who have hands on experience of what is required to comply with right to work checks.

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Leigh Carroll

Leigh Carroll Senior Associate (Chartered Legal Executive)

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