Non-UK nationals will need to secure employment and successfully obtain an appropriate visa to work in the UK.
The type of work will dictate the type of visa required to enter and work in the UK. Read our UK work visa: Temporary Worker visa page for information on the Seasonal Worker visa, Creative Worker visa, Religious Worker visa, Charity Worker visa, Government Authorised Exchange, International Agreement, Youth Mobility visa and the India Young Professional Scheme.
Read our UK work visa: Long-term work page for information on the Skilled Worker visa, Health and Care visa, International Sportsperson visa, Minister of Religion visa and Scale up visa.
Read our Start or Support a Business page for information on the Innovator visa, Global Business Mobility, High Potential Individual visa and Frontier Worker Permit.
When employing any worker, regardless of their nationality or background, you are obligated to ensure they have the right to work in the UK before they start employment.
You can carry out a right to work check in various ways depending on the circumstances, including a manual view, check and copy of a physical document listed on the Home Office website, and seeking confirmation from the online Home Office Employer Checking Service.
We advise you to check the UK government website for further information regarding how to check right to work for prospective staff or to contact us for advice. A summary is detailed below.
For British Citizens, a citizen of the UK and Colonies with a Right of Abode, or a National of the Republic of Ireland, you can in most cases, undertake a manual view check and take a copy of the documents confirming the status. The acceptable documents are on List A of the government website.
For those with limited leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain, you can in most cases, undertake a manual view check and take a copy of the documents confirming the status. The acceptable documents are on List A and List B of the government website. Please note that the Home Office is in the process of phasing out biometric residence permits and will be providing further information regarding proving the right to work in early 2024.
For EU citizens and non-EU family members under the EU Settlement Scheme, with pre-settled or settled status, you can ask the prospective staff member to log into their online status and generate a ‘share code’ from the prove your status area. This share code has a 30-day validity and can be shared with you to verify their right to work using the online right to work check. If you have already undertaken a right to work check before 1st July 2021, you are not required to undertake a repeat check or a retrospective check.
For other long-term residents who cannot produce the right to work documents listed in List A or B of the government website but can demonstrate they arrived in the UK before 1988, you can verify their right to work by using the Employer’s Checking Service online.
If your prospective staff member made an application under the EU Settlement Scheme or applied for a visa using the UK Immigration: ID Check app, then they will now have a UKVI account. Your prospective staff member will be able to use the view and prove service using their UKVI account details to prove their right to work in the UK.
Once they have accessed their UKVI account, they can provide you with a share code and their date of birth which you can then use to check their right to work in the UK.
If you employ someone who is not entitled to work in the UK, you can face a civil penalty fine of up to £20,000 per worker. You could also face a criminal penalty of a prison sentence (although this is uncommon) or have action taken against your business. If you have carried out the right-to-work checks correctly, you will have a statutory excuse against any civil penalty that may be imposed for breaches.