FAQs: Right to work checks

FAQs - right to work

The below questions and answers should be read in conjunction with our right to work standard.

For questions relating to international recruitment, please visit our dedicated immigration section, which includes guidance on visa processes and various Q&A pages on immigration and international recruitment.

 Q. Do prospective employees who hold a valid biometric residence permit have to provide evidence of their spouse's passport in demonstrating their right to work?

No, the prospective employee will have to demonstrate their own right to work. For migrants subject to immigration control, this will generally be demonstrated through their biometric residence permit or passport.

Q. Can we accept a passport that has expired for a right to work check?

For right to work checks, there are a small number of exceptions to the valid and current rule. These exceptions include a UK/European Economic Area (EEA) passport and an EEA national identity card, please consult the UK Visas and Immigration employer’s guide on the gov.uk website for further information if you are unsure what can be accepted. For identity checks, guidance still suggests documentation should be valid and current.

Q. Which part(s) of the passport need to be copied/scanned?

Employers need to make a copy of the relevant page or pages of the document in a format that cannot be subsequently altered, for example a photocopy or scan.

In the case of a passport or other travel document, the following parts must be photocopied or scanned: any page with the document’s expiry date, nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details and photograph, and any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to enter or remain in the UK and undertake the work in question.

Q. What documents do you need to verify to prove the right to work of a non-EEA family member of an EEA/Swiss national who is already residing/working in the UK?

A non-EEA family member of an EEA/Swiss national already residing/working in the UK will also be able to prove their right to work, providing they hold a valid passport and they have an extended right of residence. This right continues for as long as they remain a family member (in the case of a spouse) of the EEA national.

Where a check through the Home Office's Employer Checking Service (ECS) reveals a negative verification notice (i.e. an in-time extension has not bee made) employers must ensure they consider all other documents available to verify their right to work before terminating their employment to avoid any claims of unfair dismissal/discrimination.

While non-EEA family members of EEA/Swiss citizens do not currently need any documents from the Home Office as evidence of their right to work, they will need to register under the EU Settlement Scheme to preserve their right to work beyond 31 December 2020. This date is subject to change, depending on whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the December date relates to a no deal scenario.

Employers must refer to Home Office guidance for information about the full range of documents that can be accepted to prove an applicant's right to work.


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