Research reveals a third of employers unsure of Right to Work obligations

Research from Sterling has revealed that almost a third of employers are putting themselves at risk due to uncertainty surrounding their accountability when it comes to employment screening.

A poll Sterling conducted during its joint webinar with representatives from the Home Office showed that 31% of businesses aren’t completely confident in their obligations when it comes to Right to Work checks.

This comes at a time when the rules and requirements around these checks look set to become more complex, with representatives from the Home Office referring to the information outlined in its December 2018 report, The UK’s future skills-based immigration system, during the webinar.

According to this information, there are a number of factors that will change Right to Work checks in the near future, with post-Brexit regulation and a shift to online documentation playing key roles.

As Steve Smith, Managing Director of Sterling (EMEA), explains, with complexity set to increase, those unsure of their obligations need to take action now.

“Obviously the fact that two thirds are fully confident that they are aware of their obligations regarding Right to Work checks is fantastic. However, that still leaves almost a third who aren’t quite certain. Given that these requirements will change post-Brexit, and the potential risks associated with negligence look set to increase, those that fail to implement the correct processes could be exposed to potential fines.”

“For anyone unsure of their obligations both now and in the near future, seeking out expert advice is key. However, in the first instance it’s worth knowing what routes are available and what will work best for the individuals you hire and your business. The website is a great starting place and its online Right to Work tool will be hugely valuable in helping guide you through the process. Whatever stage you’re at when it comes to knowing your obligations, inaction is simply inadvisable.” has guidance that explains what employers must do to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out document checks on people before employing them to make sure they are allowed to work.

You should use it to find out:

  • what a right to work check is
  • why you need to do right to work checks
  • whose documents you should check
  • how to carry out checks
  • when to carry out initial checks, follow-up checks and what happens under TUPE
  • what documents are acceptable

Check if someone can work in the UK using their quick answer tool.

If you’re reasonably satisfied that the worker has an outstanding application with the Home Office that was made before their previous leave expired or has an outstanding appeal against a Home Office decision, you can get a Positive Verification Notice from the Employer Checking Service.

The employer guidance collection includes all documents for employers on preventing illegal working.

The new guidance dated 28 January 2019 has replaced the version dated 29 June 2018. You should still refer to this earlier guidance if the employment of illegal workers occurred between 29 June 2018 and 28 January 2019.

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