Proof of eligibility to work in the UK and Immigration Act 2016
Eligibility to work in the UK became a hot topic back in the late 2000s when the laws on illegal working were considerably bumped up.
The Asylum and Immigration Act 2006 introduced civil penalties for employers who take on employees who do not have the right to work in the UK. These penalties were increased again in 2016 under the Immigration Act 2016. The new rules mean that if an employer is found to have employed someone without making the proper checks, and thereby risking prosecution, they could end up with a five year prison sentence (two years previously) and/or an unlimited fine.
It is imperative that employers carry out the proper checks before employing someone. The government has issued prescribed guidance as to what documents are acceptable as a means of confirming eligibility. These checks apply to ALL prospective employees including those who are born in Britain and have British citizenship.
At what point should proof be presented
The question this week was: At what point should the employee provide their proof of eligibility to work in UK documentation?
Our advice was that ideally you would want candidates applying for the post to bring them to the interview (because what would be the point in interviewing someone who isn’t eligible or indeed making a job offer to!).
If this was not possible (and it would have to be a very good reason) at the very latest, either before the first day of employment or on the first day. If they are not able to provide it up to this point then the job offer would have to be withdrawn. Under no circumstances should you allow a person to commence employment with you without providing proof of their right to work in the UK.
If you do find yourself in a situation where you are not sure whether the documents that have been provided meet with the government guidance, I would strongly advise that you contact Qdos for assistance. Otherwise you could be facing a hefty fine or worse, imprisonment!