Calls from the advice line - Eligibility to work in the UK

25 April 2017

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 If they are not able to provide it up to this point then the job offer would have to be withdrawn.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! For this and all your HR outsourcing needs please contact us.  

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Hema Mistry

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Over her 20+ years in HR, Hema draws her expert specialist knowledge from a broad range of industries including retail, consumer goods, leisure and customer service.

Kerry Bell

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Kerry recently joined Qdos and has over 20 years experience in HR and Training. She graduated with a degree in Politics and has a Masters in HR Management and Staff Development – she is a full chartered member of the CIPD.

Arti Patel

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Arti Patel has recently joined the Qdos HR consultancy team as a HR Business Partner. Arti has a strong background in HR and is a fully qualified CIPD member, she has worked with challenging casework and has a good understanding of how to deal with workplace matters as they arise.

Chris Burrows

HS Training Business Partner

Chris Burrows has had a varied career within Health and Safety and gained qualifications. These include; member of IOSH with technical status and also NEBOSH with instructor and assessing qualifications.

Ruth Frank

Employment Law Consultant

Although a career in employment law was furthest from Ruth's mind when she attained her Law Degree at Coventry University, she has since found her passion for all things HR!

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