A right to work check is a Home Office process to establish that each employee/casual worker has the right to work in the UK.
Under the 2006 Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Act the University has a duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out document checks to confirm that a person has the right to work in the UK. All employees, casual workers and Tier 5 sponsored visa holders must have their right to work checked before they start work at the University. In addition, those with time- limited right to work in the UK (i.e. those who hold a ‘List B’ document such as a visa) must have a repeat check before their visa/document is due to expire.
Right to Work checks, strictly in accordance with the Home Office guidance, must be made for:
- All employees and workers who are paid through the payroll, including casual workers.
- Tier 5 sponsored visa holders.
- Employed Tier 4 student visa holders. Most student visa holders have restrictions on the hours they can work, for full guidance see the: additional requirements for employed student visa holders. A record of term and vacation dates must be kept and the student must complete the Tier 4 Student Employment Declaration confirming they are not employed anywhere else in excess of their permitted hours. Where a Tier 4 visa holder is applying to switch into Tier 2 they are permitted to start work during their application for a Tier 2 visa. See Switching from a Tier 4 visa into Tier 2 General for additional information.
- People doing work experience (except where the individual is under the age of 16).
- Those undertaking unpaid work.
In addition to staff, departments and colleges should check and record the visa status of:
Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) (credit-card sized plastic visa cards) are now issued to those applying overseas for permission to stay in the UK for more than six months.
The applicant will be issued with a 30 day vignette (visa in their passport) to enable them to enter the UK but they must then collect their BRP within 10 days from a designated Post Office.
A letter issued to the applicant along with their 30 day vignette details the designated Post Office and the date from which the BRP will be available for collection, based on the UK address and intended travel date listed in the visa application.
The passport containing the vignette and the letter must be presented when collecting the BRP. If the applicant does not collect their BRP within 10 days they could face a financial penalty and have may have their visa curtailed. Guidance in relation to BRPs for overseas applicants, and the schedule for the international roll-out, can be found on the Home Office website.
When conducting a right to work check, departments/ colleges must ensure that a copy of the Biometric Residence Permit is taken (where the visa holder is expected to hold one), as well as the 30 day vignette showing the entry date stamp.
Visa holders should be advised to collect their Biometric Residence Permit before starting work so that a right to work check can be completed in full as required.
If for any reason a visa holder is unable to collect their Biometric Residence Permit before they commence work, the department or college may rely on the 30 day vignette as proof of right to work (assuming it is valid) only up to the expiry date of this temporary visa.
The visa holder should be advised to collect their Biometric Residence Permit as soon as possible and before the 30 day vignette expires and present it to their department or college as proof of continued right to work. In these circumstances, departments and colleges must complete an initial right to work check on the 30 day vignette and a repeat right to work check on the Biometric Residence Permit before the 30 day vignette expires.
Departments and colleges will recognise those applicants from overseas who should have a Biometric Residence Permit by the expiry date of their vignette (visa in their passport).
Those who should be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit will have a visa in their passport valid for only one month.
Changes to the right to work rules in 2014 mean that UK visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the form of a vignette (paper visa) which is not in a current passport cannot be accepted as evidence of right to work in the UK.
- even if the expiry date of a previous passport has not yet passed it is no longer current if a new passport has been obtained.
- endorsements under EEA (European) immigration rules where the individual is the family member of an EEA national, such as a Residence Card, Accession Residence Card, Derivative Residence Card, or Permanent Residence Card, can be accepted as evidence of right to work whether in a current or expired passport, as long as they have not expired and are presented along with a current passport in the latter case.
The individual must not be permitted to undertake any work until they are able to present their visa re-issued as a BRP, or the Home Office letter acknowledging an application has been verified through the Employer Checking Service.