Most employers know the importance of only hiring those who have a right to work in Britain, so they do not find themselves breaking the law and employing illegal members of staff.
However, being certain you are recruiting a legitimate worker can be difficult, particularly if you do not know who has the right to work in the UK and who does not.
Hiring a screening service to conduct thorough recruitment checks, including their employment eligibility and immigration status, will give bosses confidence they have checked their employees methodically before hiring them. Nevertheless, it is wise to have an idea about who has a right to work in the country before you check their status.
- British Nationals
Candidates who are born in the UK and have British citizenship automatically have a right to work here. However, this also extends to relatives of British nationals.
- EEA Citizens
People who have been born in the European Economic Area (EEA) are also able to work in Britain without needing to apply for a separate visa.
The EEA includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Therefore, if you know the prospective recruit is from Europe, it is a good idea to ascertain whether their country of origin is within the EEA or not.
Swiss nationals, while not being part of the EEA, are also allowed to work in Britain, subject to general EEA regulations.
- Family members
If the potential employee has a family member who is British, Swiss, or from the EEA, they are allowed to work in the UK. However, they will have to apply for an EEA Family Permit, which will be valid for six months. During this time, the applicant can enter the country as many times as they want, study here, have a right of residence in Britain, and work for UK employers.
However, those who want to stay in Britain for longer than this and are related to someone from the EEA can apply for an EEA Residence Card.
- Visa holders
People from other countries may still be allowed to work in Britain – so long as they have the appropriate visa and work permit before they start searching for a new job.
Foreign nationals can check if they require a UK visa on the government’s website by clicking on the country they come from.
For instance, someone from Bolivia wanting to come to Britain to work for more than six months will need a visa, according to the website.
The type of visa they apply for depends on their circumstances and requirements, such as if they are a ‘skilled worker’, ‘temporary worker’, ‘high-value worker’, or if they have had grandparents born in the UK.
- Commonwealth citizens
Indeed, prospective employees could apply for a UK Ancestry Visa if they are from the Commonwealth, and are able to prove one of their grandparents was born in Britain.
Once they have been granted this visa, they are able to stay and work in Britain for as long as five years, while also being able to extend this timeframe should they want to.
- Work permits
Even those with legitimate visas to be in the UK might also need to prove they have a work permit.
The employer typically applies for work permits on the behalf of the candidate, stipulating how long they require the member of staff for depending on the length of the project and type of work they are being hired for.
The importance of employment checks
While many of us will want to take the candidate’s word at face value, it is incredibly important to conduct thorough checks regarding their work eligibility before recruiting them.
This is because there are strict penalties against those who hire illegal workers, even unintentionally by not carrying out the appropriate right to work checks. These include a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker; a criminal conviction that may carry a prison sentence of five years; closure of the business; disqualification as a director; being banned from sponsoring migrants; a seizure of earnings; and possible revocation of a licence for those in the late night refreshment sector or the private hire vehicle industry.
For comprehensive employment verification checks you can rely on, take a look at the variety of screening options available here.