Updated Right to Work Check Requirements

November 12, 2019 | United Kingdom

The UK Home Office has recently made some updates to the right to work check requirements for employers of foreign nationals. 

Where relevant, employers must check for evidence of the foreign national’s UK entry date. 

Employers that sponsor a Tier 2 or Tier 5 entry clearance (visa) for a foreign national, must check to see that the foreign national entered within the visa’s validity period. If they entered before the visa’s “valid from” date, they will not be work authorized. In this case, the foreign national should leave the Common Travel Area (UK, Guernsey, Jersey, Isle of Man and Ireland) and re-enter the UK once the visa is valid. This visa check is not required if the foreign national has been granted, or is applying for, leave to remain in the UK, including if the foreign national is applying for an extension of, or change of status to, Tier 2 or Tier 5 within the UK. A right to work check is, however, still required.   

When checking for a date of entry, employers are advised to look for an immigration officer’s entry stamp, which is most often found on the foreign national’s visa. The employer must make and keep a copy of this stamp. 

Some foreign nationals do not have entry stamps, namely those who entered the UK via Ireland and nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA who are allowed to enter the UK using automated “e-Gates” if they have a valid visa. For foreign nationals that entered with a visa but do not have a stamp, the employer must still check to ensure they did not enter before the visa’s “valid from” date by asking for other evidence (e.g., electronic or paper airline tickets or boarding passes). Once the entry date is confirmed, the employer must record the date but does not have to keep evidence of the date.