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Law for Business

Knowhow - guidance - precedents

28 FEB 2013

Overseas Workers: Hints & Tips

Pam Loch

Managing Partner


Employers are required by law to check potential workers have the right to work in the UK, before employment begins. This obligation is set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.  If you correctly carry out the checks then you have a ‘legal excuse' in the event that an illegal worker is subsequently found to be working for you.

There are several key points to remember when performing the checks:

  • To comply with anti-discrimination law you should carry out the checks on all people regardless of their background or appearance.
  • The type of documents to check depends on whether the applicant has an ongoing or limited right to work in the UK. You need to find that out first from the applicant.
  • Check original documents and satisfy yourself they are genuine and haven't been tampered with.
  • Ensure that photos and dates of birth match the appearance of the applicant.
  • Check any Government endorsements and make a note of any expiry dates. If an applicant has only a limited right to work in the UK, make a diary note to repeat the checks before the expiry of the right or within 12 months, whichever is sooner. Repeat the checks at least once a year.
  • Ensure the applicant has the right to perform the type of work and hours you are offering.
  • Copy the required documents and make a note of the date you did so. Keep them securely for the duration of the time they work with you and for at least 2 years after.

If an applicant provides false documents, you will only be liable for a fine if the forgery is ‘reasonably apparent'. It is the responsibility of the person looking for work to show that they are legally allowed to work in the UK but you should make it clear in any offer of work that it is conditional upon the applicant providing the necessary documents.

For more information please contact Pam Loch on 01892 773970 or at info@lochassociates.co.uk.

Pam Loch, Managing Partner of niche employment law practice, Loch Associates Employment Lawyers and Managing Director of HR Advise Me Limited.  

For more information on Loch Associates Employment Lawyers please go to www.lochassociates.co.uk and for HR Advise Me go to www.hradvise.me

Loch Associates

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