All employers have a duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out prescribed document checks on candidates before employing them to ensure they have the right to work in the UK.
You are expected to keep a record that they have been carried out and repeat them in respect of any individuals who have time-limited permission to work in the UK, prior to the expiration of that permission.
It is a criminal offence if an employer employs an illegal worker and knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that the person has no right to do the work in question in the UK. It is a civil offence if you employ someone who does not have the right to carry out the work in question, which can be punished by a penalty of up to £20,000 for each individual who does not have the right to work.
An employer will be excused from paying a civil penalty if they are able to show that they complied with the prescribed right to work checks and retained records to prove that those checks were completed correctly. For further information, see:
REC5: Guidance: right to work checks.
In order to avoid claims for discrimination, employers should carry out the same checks on all prospective employees and not just those who appear to be non-British.
REC5 – Guidance – right to work checks
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