Employment checks for new employees

Find out about what employment checks you will need before you start working for an employer.

7 December 2021

What are employment checks? 

Before you start working for an employer they are required by law to carry out certain employment checks. The checks are to make sure that you have the right to work in the UK and that you are who you say you are. You will not be able to start work in your new job until the required checks are completed. 

There are up to six employment checks you may need to complete (you may only need to complete some of them). These are: 

  1. identity checks 
  2. qualifications checks, and any relevant experience. (Sometimes experience may be regarded as equivalent to certain essential qualifications and references). 
  3. employment history and reference checks 
  4. disclosure and barring service (DBS) check (also known as a criminal record check) 
  5. work health assessments 
  6. right to work check 

Why are employment checks done? 

  • to make sure you can legally work in the UK
  • to confirm that you are who you say you are
  • to check whether you are suitable for the job. For example, if you are likely to be working with vulnerable people, a DBS check will need to be done which is required by law
  • to make sure you are fit for work or, if there are any adjustments that your employer can make for you
  • to identify what skills you have, your abilities and general character and to make sure you have the skills your employer needs.  

What documents do you need? 

You will need to provide one of the following combinations: 

  • TWO forms of photographic ID and ONE document confirming proof of address. 


  • ONE form of photographic ID and TWO documents confirming proof of address.  

Photographic ID can include: 

Passport, UK full or provisional photocard driving license, HM Armed Forces Identity card, ID card carrying the PASS accreditation logo. 

Documents to confirm proof of address can include: 

Utility bill, council tax statement, bank, building society or credit card statement or a letter from HMRC.  Validity dates for these can vary.  For example, utility bills and bank / credit card statements must be dated within the last 3 months whereas council tax can be the last 12 months. 

If you are in or have recently left full-time education and don’t have any of the above documents you will need: 

ONE form of photographic ID such as an identity card carrying the PASS accreditation logo, or a passport photo signed on the back by someone who has known you personally for at least two years. For example: your teacher, solicitor, bank manager or GP or doctor. 

They will also have to provide a signed statement outlining how they know you. The statement must also provide their full name, signature and contact details.   


TWO of the following: 

  • Qualification certificate 
  • full birth certificate 

  • your national insurance card or proof of NI number 

  • a letter from your head teacher or tutor 

  • a document from a government authority such as Jobcentre Plus  

  • student loan or grant agreement from local education authority 


Other useful information: 

  • If you do not have a UK passport valid or expired (expired passports can only be used for a right to work check and cannot be used for NHS employers or DBS check), you will have to provide your birth certificate and an official document confirming your National Insurance number as this is the only other option for a UK citizen to prove right to work. 

How long do the checks take?  

It’s hard to say, your new employer will request the information they need as soon as possible after your interview. Depending on the information needed for a specific role, the recruitment can sometimes take a little bit longer so ask your employer to keep you updated regularly on progress and timescales.  

What you need to do now 

  • Take your original documents (they cannot be photocopies), to your new employer as soon as possible so they can begin doing the employment checks. This should speed up the process to allow you to start work. 

  • Keep in touch with your new employer to check on progress and ask if there is anything you could be doing while you are waiting. For example, your employer might suggest you contact your referee and ask them to complete your reference.