Ensure your workers are eligible to work in the UK

Keeping records of workers' documents


A new immigration system applies to people arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021. EU citizens moving to the UK to work will need to get a visa in advance. Employers need a sponsor licence to hire most workers from outside the UK. See employing EU citizens in the UK.

When a prospective worker gives you their relevant documents to prove that they have the right to work in the UK, you must ensure they are valid and keep a record of them. You can keep a record of these documents by either photocopying them or scanning and saving them electronically.

You could face a civil penalty if you employ an illegal worker and haven't carried out a correct right to work check. See right to work checks: employer guidance.

Make sure the workers' documents are valid

You need to check that:

  • the documents are originals and belong to the person who has given them to you
  • the dates for the worker's right to work in the UK haven't expired
  • photos are the same across all documents and look like the applicant
  • dates of birth are the same across all documents
  • the person has permission to do the type of work you're offering (including any limit on the number of hours they can work)
  • for students you see evidence of their study and vacation times
  • if two documents give different names, the person has supporting documents showing why they are different, eg marriage certificate or divorce decree

See check if a document allows someone to work in the UK and view a job applicant's right to work details.

You don't have to do further checks if the person has no restrictions on their right to work in the UK. You will have to make additional checks if they have a limited right to work in the UK - check if a document allows someone to work in the UK.

Take a copy of the documents for record-keeping

When you copy the documents:

  • make a copy that cannot be changed, eg a photocopy or scanned electronic version
  • for passports, copy any page with the expiry date, applicant's details (eg nationality date of birth and photograph) including endorsements, eg a work visa or Certificate of Entitlement to the right of abode in the UK
  • for biometric residence permits, copy both sides
  • for all other documents you must make a complete copy
  • keep copies during the worker's employment and for two years after they stop working for you

See right to work checklist and right to work checks: employer guidance.

You must ensure you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and that you keep the right staff records for the correct time period.

  • Home Office Employer Enquiries
    0300 123 5434