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In today’s globalized world, the workforce is more diverse and international than ever before. This diversity brings a wealth of knowledge and skills but also introduces the need for employers and employees alike to navigate the complexities of legal work entitlements. In the UK, verifying an individual’s right to work is a critical step in the employment process, ensuring compliance with immigration laws and avoiding potential penalties. This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to check someone’s right to work in the UK, making the process clear and straightforward.

Introduction to Right to Work Checks

The right to work check is a legal requirement in the UK, designed to prevent illegal working by ensuring that all employees have the legal right to work in the country. It involves verifying the employee’s identity and work entitlement documents before employment begins. For everyday people and employers alike, understanding this process is crucial. That’s where Contend steps in, offering AI-driven legal guidance to navigate these waters with ease.

How do I verify an employee’s right to work in the UK?

Understanding the Legal Framework

The UK government mandates that all employers perform right to work checks on prospective employees before their employment commences. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines or even criminal sanctions for knowingly employing someone without the right to work.

Who Needs a Right to Work Check?

Essentially, every employee, regardless of their nationality, must undergo this verification process. It includes individuals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals, following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Do I need to perform a right to work check on my new hire?
Employment: check someones right to work

Step-by-Step Guide to Performing a Right to Work Check

Verifying someone’s right to work involves several key steps, designed to ensure that the process is thorough and compliant with the law.

Step 1: Obtain Original Documents

The first step is to obtain and review the original documents that prove the individual’s right to work. The UK government provides a comprehensive list of acceptable documents, which are categorized into two lists: List A and List B. List A contains documents that evidence a permanent right to work, while List B contains documents that grant a temporary right to work.

Step 2: Check the Validity

Once you have the original documents, you must check their validity in the presence of the holder. This involves ensuring that the documents are genuine, have not been tampered with, and belong to the person presenting them.

Step 3: Copy and Record

After verifying the documents, you must make clear copies of each document, recording the date of the check. These copies must be kept on file for the duration of the individual’s employment and for two years afterward.

Step 4: Conduct Follow-up Checks

For individuals who have a time-limited right to work in the UK, employers are required to conduct follow-up checks. These checks must be performed before the employee’s current permission expires to ensure ongoing compliance.

How do I verify the authenticity of the documents?

Digital Right to Work Checks

Recognizing the need for efficiency and security, the UK Home Office has introduced digital right to work checks. This online service allows employers to verify the right to work of British and Irish citizens holding a valid passport, as well as non-EEA nationals holding a biometric residence permit, without needing to see physical documents.

How do I complete a digital right to work check for my new job?

Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Employers often face challenges in navigating the right to work check process, from understanding which documents are acceptable to knowing how to carry out checks for individuals with pending immigration applications. Contend simplifies this process with AI-driven guidance, helping you understand your legal obligations and how to fulfill them accurately.

How do I correctly verify the right to work for someone with a pending immigration application?

Contend: Your Partner in Legal Compliance

At Contend, we understand the importance of ensuring legal compliance in the employment process. Our AI legal experts are here to provide you with personalized guidance on conducting right to work checks, helping you navigate the complexities of UK immigration law with confidence. Chat with our AI legal assistant today to get clear, reliable answers to your legal questions in 5 minutes or less.

How do I properly conduct right to work checks for my new employees?


Ensuring an employee’s right to work in the UK is a crucial step in the hiring process, safeguarding both the employer and the employee against legal repercussions. By following the guidelines outlined in this article and utilizing Contend’s innovative AI technology, you can navigate these requirements with ease, ensuring compliance and peace of mind. Remember, when in doubt, seeking expert advice is always a wise decision. Connect with Contend today and take the first step toward hassle-free legal guidance and support.

Whether you’re an employer verifying a potential hire’s work entitlement or an individual ensuring your own eligibility, understanding how to check someone’s right to work in the UK is essential. Let Contend be your guide through the legal landscape, ensuring your success every step of the way.

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This material is for general information only and does not constitute
tax, legal or any other form of advice. You should not rely on any
information contained herein to make (or refrain from making) any
decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your
own particular situation. Contend Inc is not regulated by the
Solicitor’s Regulation Authority.