University of Bath

Checking workers eligibility to work in the UK

How to carry out the necessary checks to ensure workers are eligible to work in the UK.

Eligibility to work in the UK

The University is obliged to ensure that all workers are eligible to work in the UK. It is vital that the appropriate checks are completed prior to any work being undertaken.

The checks must be applied equally to all workers to ensure that we remain compliant with our duty to prevent illegal working and at the same time avoid unlawful discrimination.

Showing permission to work and reside in the UK

The onus is on the prospective worker to show that they are eligible to work in the UK.  Ordinarily this is done by presenting the original passport, national identity card or Biometric Residence Permit.

If these are unavailable a combination of both of the following would be acceptable; a full birth or adoption certificate issued in the UK which includes the name(s) of at least one of the holder’s parents or adoptive parents, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a Government agency or a previous employer.

If neither of these are available, please contact your HR Recruitment Administrator for further guidance.

When checking or presenting documents they must be originals and must be copied and validated by the University representative conducting the check, which may be the recruiting manager, their designate, or a member of staff from HR. For example, passports, the photo/details page and any visa page copied. The copy should include the following declaration 'Date on which this right to work check was made' and be signed and dated by the person conducting the check and their name written legibly so it is clear who has completed the check.

The following identification documents cannot be accepted:

  • a National Insurance Number on its own or in any format

  • a driving licence

  • a bill issued by a financial institution or a utility company

  • a short birth certificate issued in the UK which does not have the details of at least one of the parents

Individuals eligible to work in the UK without restriction

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  
  • a dependent, husband, wife or civil partner of a UK or EEA national or an individual who has an existing right to work in the UK and the individual holds a dependent’s visa  
  • an individual with Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or have a UK Ancestry visa

Individuals who need to gain permission to work in the UK

If the prospective worker does not fall into one of these categories, such as non-EU migrants, they are likely to need to obtain permission before they can work in the UK.

Checking identity documents

If you are a University representative responsible for checking an individual's eligibility to work documents, you must take all reasonable steps to:

  • check that the document presented is valid

  • satisfy yourself that the person presenting themselves is the person named in the document

  • check that the documents allow them to do the work in question before the work commences.

Obtain documents

The documents you must accept from an individual to demonstrate their right to work are set out in two lists set by the Home Office - List A or List B. You must obtain an original document or document combination specified in one of these lists in order to comply with Home Office requirements.

  • List A contains the range of documents which you may accept for an individual who has a permanent right to work in the UK

  • List B contains the range of documents which may be accepted for an individual who has a temporary right to work in the UK

Check documents

For each document presented, you should:

  • check any photographs are consistent with the appearance of the employee/worker (this means you must see them in person)

  • check any dates of birth listed are consistent across documents and that you are satisfied that these correspond with the appearance of the employee/worker

  • check that the expiry dates of any limited leave to enter or remain in the UK have not passed -  only a current valid visa in a current passport or a Biometric Residence Permit (supported by a current valid passport) will confirm the right to work. Please note that Tier 4 students who have a right to study may not automatically have a right to work in the UK. An in-date visa in an expired passport does not give the holder a right to work in the UK.

  • check any UK Government endorsements (stamps, visas, etc.) to see if your prospective or current employee/worker is able to do the type of work you are offering

  • satisfy yourself that the documents are valid and genuine, have not been tampered with and belong to the holder

If your employee/worker gives you two documents which have different names, ask them for a further document to explain the reason for this. The further document could be a marriage/civil partnership certificate, a divorce decree, or on enrolled deed poll.

Copy/scan documents

You must make a copy of the relevant page or pages of the document in a format which cannot be subsequently altered. Typically, you should do this by photocopying and/or scanning the documents.

In the case of a passport or other travel document, the following parts must be photocopied and/or scanned:

  • Passports: any page with the document 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.

  • For any documents other than a passport: the document in full, including both sides of a Biometric Residence Permit, an Application Registration Card and a Residence Card (biometric format).

Each document should be photocopied and/or scanned separately and include the following declaration 'Date on which this right to work check was made' . The declaration must be signed and dated by the person conducting the check and their name written legibly so it is clear who has completed the check.

Useful information

View this slideshow about document verification to make sure that you:

  • comply with Home Office requirements

  • identify the required documents for compliance

  • correctly complete appropriate passport and other document checks

  • identify any irregularities with documents and contact HR/Joblink for advice

If you have any questions about document verification, you should contact your relevant HR Administrator

Other useful websites