Document fraud is more common than you might think and takes many forms such as counterfeits, forgeries and imposters. You can be sent to jail for up to 5 years and receive an unlimited fine if you know or should have known that you employed someone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK.

UK VISAs and Immigration confirmed that responsibility relating to right to work rests with both the client where the agency worker works and the employment business who supplied them. UK VISAs and Immigration would not treat 'they are an agency worker' as an adequate defence in the event a worker is found to be working illegally.

UK VISAs and Immigration confirmed that it is the responsibility of the client to ensure their agency partners are vetted and compliant ensuring all workers on site, regardless of status, are eligible to work in the UK.

A driving licence is not a satisfactory form of identification to prove right to work in UK. The documents that are considered acceptable for demonstrating right to work in the UK are set out in two lists – List A and List B.

Companies should ensure their recruitment partners are:

Checking the documents

  • the documents are genuine, original and unchanged and belong to the person who has given them to you
  • the dates for the applicant’s right to work in the UK haven’t expired
  • photos are the same across all documents and look like the applicant
  • dates of birth are the same across all documents
  • the applicant has permission to do the type of work you’re offering (including any limit on the number of hours they can work)
  • for students you see evidence of their study and vacation times
  • if 2 documents give different names, the applicant has supporting documents showing why they’re different.

You’ll have to make further checks on your worker if they have a limited right to work in the UK.

Taking a copy of the documents

  • make a copy that can’t be changed, eg a photocopy
  • for passports, copy any page with the expiry date and applicant’s details (eg nationality, date of birth and photograph) including endorsements, eg a work visa
  • for biometric residence permits and residence cards (biometric format), copy both sides
  • for all other documents you must make a complete copy
  • keep copies during the applicant’s employment and for 2 years after they stop working for you
  • record the date the check was made

Make sure you follow data protection law.

We currently await the outcome of ‘Brexit’ discussions and the impact this may have on EU resident’s right to work in the United Kingdom.