19th October 2009


 Issue No.  2009/23




The recent high profile case involving the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, is a big reminder to Employers that they must carry out the necessary checks to ensure that anyone they employ does have a legal right to be in and work in the United Kingdom.
The simplest approach is to ask for sight of one of the following “secure” documents:- 
  • UK Passport
  • EEA Passport and national identity card
  • UK residence permit.
If no secure document can be produced, Employers can as an alternative check two documents as follows:-
  • An official document bearing a National Insurance Number along with a full birth certificate, a letter from the Home Office or an Immigration Status Document.


  • A Work Permit along with either a Passport or a letter from the Home Office confirming that the holder has permission to enter and remain in the UK and take the work in question.
 Employers must take reasonable steps to satisfy themselves that:
  1. the documents relate to the potential employee; and
  2. the documents allow the employee to do the type of work offered; and
  3. the documents are valid.
Employers must take photocopies or scan the front cover and the pages giving personal details, including photograph, signature and any relevant endorsements, from the Passport and any other travel documents.  All other documents should be copied/scanned in their entirety.
Everything copied or scanned must be kept securely.
Where the prospective employee has only limited leave to be in the UK, employers should repeat the checks at least once every 12 months until the employee can produce documents indicating that they can remain permanently in the UK.
For a national of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Slovenia, Employers should ensure that the prospective employee (subject to some exemptions) registers with the Border & Immigration Agency under the Worker Registration Scheme within one month of starting employment. (See Information Update 2007/31)
For a national of Bulgaria or Romania, employers should check and copy the prospective employee’s authorisation document (or any document establishing that the person is exempt) before their employment commences. (See Information Update 2007/32)
An employer who employs an illegal worker without carrying out all the necessary checks  and/or keeping copies of relevant documents will be liable to a civil penalty of up to £10,000 for each person that they illegally employ.
Criminal conviction for knowingly employing an illegal worker will carry the potential of an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to 2 years for any consenting or conniving officer of the employer.
Employing nationals of the latest EU succession states without carrying out the required additional checks may result in a fine of up to £5,000 on conviction.




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