Pre-employment checks

Pre-employment checks: ensuring candidates are eligible to work in the UK

Guide

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.

All employers in the UK have a responsibility to stop illegal workers. You must therefore check the entitlement of everyone you plan to employ to work in the UK. Failure to do so may result in a civil penalty or criminal conviction.

Some people can currently work in the UK without restriction, including British citizens and nationals of most countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.

Even if you think that a potential employee has the right to work in the UK, you should still make the necessary checks. You should ask candidates to provide evidence of their right to work in the UK by producing original copies of documents specified by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

For more information on checking an employee's eligibility, see ensuring your workers are eligible to work in the UK.

In addition, check if someone can work in the UK on the GOV.UK website.

Employing someone who needs permission to work in the UK

You may need a sponsor licence to employ someone from outside the EEA and Switzerland to work for you in the UK. 

Read GOV.UK guidance on sponsorship.

For more information on checking an employee's eligibility, see ensuring your workers are eligible to work in the UK.

Developed with:
  • LRA