How to complete a right to work check

A right to work checks of the employee's original documents must be completed before work commences. It is generally recommended that employers carry out the check at the interview stage to ensure the employer has checked and retained copies of a worker's original document and are satisfied they can work legally in the UK. This gives the employer a statutory excuse against sanction from the Home Office.

 

If checks have not been carried out at the interview stage, a right to work check must be carried out before work starts or first thing on the first day. Where a contract start date falls on a weekend or public holiday, and cannot be delayed as it has been specified by a funding organisation, the check must be carried out before the first day.

 

The Home Office provide a list of document types that can be accepted as proof of right to work. These are divided into List A and List B documents:

List A documents  (permanent right to work: no repeated check needed)
 

  • British passport
  • EU/EEA national passport
  • EU/EEA identity card
  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) BRP or vignette (please contact SIT if a valid ILR vignette is in an expired passport)
  • Permanent Residence (PR) visa
 

List B documents (time limited right to work: repeated check needed)

  • Time limited UK visa  (ie Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 4, Tier 5, family visa, UK Ancestry):

    1) Vignette (entry clearance sticker in passport) - normally valid for 30 days, and used to enter the UK
    2) Biometric residence permit (BRP) - credit-card sized plastic visa cards are issued to those staying in the UK for more than six months. Must be collected from designated Post Office within 10 days of arriving into the UK
     

 

When conducting a right to work check, departments/ colleges will normally first take a right to work copy of the 30 day vignette which shows the entry date stamp. A repeat right to work check of the employees BRP must be conducted before the vignette expires. Visa holders should therefore be advised to collect their Biometric Residence Permit at the designated Post Office and arrange to present this so a repeat right to work check can be completed. If the BRP is delayed, and the vignette is about to expire, please contact SIT.
 
In exceptional circumstances, a right to work check can be conducted via Skype/video link before the first day of employment. The worker must send their original documents (passport, visa etc.) to the department before the right to work check via video link is conducted. Please contact SIT for more information. 
 
 
If an employees BRP is delayed, and the right to work check of the vignette is running out, please contact the Staff Immigration Team
 
 

The employer must ask the employee/casual worker to provide an original, valid right to work document to be checked. It must be made clear to the new employee that no work can start before the right to work check has been completed. A right to work check is normally undertaken by the HR department or other University staff who have completed the right to work training.  

 

When a right to work check is conducted of an original document, please check the following to ensure compliance with Home Office rules:

  • The document appears genuine and belongs to the holder – employers are not expected to be expert in recognising fraudulent documents, but they are expected to reject a document that is “reasonably apparent” that the document is not genuine and/or does not belong to the holder
     
  • Photographs and dates of birth are consistent – photographs and dates of birth must be consistent across documents (where multiple documents are presented) and must be consistent with the appearance of the employee/casual worker
     
  • Visas are in date and permit the work in question – certain visas (e.g. Tier 2, Tier 5 and Tier 4) carry restrictions on what work the holder can do and/or the hours they are permitted to work. The visa usually clearly states any conditions/restrictions. Contact the Staff Immigration Team  if you are unsure
     
  • Difference in name across documents – you must seek further documentation (such as a marriage certificate, decree absolute etc.) to explain any difference in name across documents. You must see original documentation and retain a copy of file to explain the reason for the difference in names

Once the employing department or college is satisfied that the prospective employee has the right to work in the UK, and their document appears to be genuine, the document must be copied in its entirety.

 

Passports - Take a copy of the personal details page. This contains the name, date of birth, nationality, photograph, expiry date of the document, signature.

UK Biometric residence permit (BRP): Take a copy of the front and back of the visa (containing the name, date of birth, nationality, visa type, visa expiry date, signature)

UK vignette - Take a copy of the visa sticker itself and the passport. The vignette states the name, date of birth, nationality and visa type. This is sometimes a temporary entry vignette (valid up to 30 months), but can also be an older visa for Indefinite Leave to remain or a family permit. Where a valid vignette is stuck in an expired passport, please contact Staff Immigration Team to check whether it can still be used to check someone's right to work.   

 

The following declaration must be included on copies of right to work documents as evidence of the date the check was made:
The date on which this right to work check was made [insert date]

 

The declaration above must be included on all right to work check copies. You must add this declaration, along with your name (legibly) and your signature, to the copies and retain them securely and in a format that cannot be altered (such as photocopy or CD/R) for the duration of the employment/ engagement and for a further two years after the employment/engagement ends (except for Tier 2 and Tier 5 documentation which must be retained until permission is given by the Home Office to destroy it). 

 

Simply stating the date and signing the copy would not be accepted by the Home Office as a valid right to work check.

 

Departments should also ensure that the date the right to work check was completed is correctly recorded in CoreHR. Colleges should have a comparable system for recording when right to work checks have been carried out and by whom.

Please send copies of right to work checks for Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsored visa holders to the Staff Immigration Team.

For more information on retention periods for university data which needs to be kept longer for other legal reasons, such as documentation in relation to sponsored visa holders and Personnel data relating to pay for example, please see the guidance on retention periods at: http://www.admin.ox.ac.uk/personnel/recruit/recruitproc/feedback/retention/

It is mandatory that departments enter right to work information into CoreHR for all new employees, casuals and Tier 5 sponsored visa holders. From early 2015, in instances where the right to work information has not been completed/ has not been completed in full, the individual will not be paid until the matter is resolved.

See the CORE Quick Reference Guide PA10 for detailed information on how to complete the CoreHR right to work screen.

 

For casual workers, departments must complete the right to work information on the casual payroll form and ensure that any List B document holders are added to the department/college’s list of List B document holders along with their visa expiry dates.

 

Please see the 'Casual workers' page for more information.

A repeat right to work check is only required where the employee/casual worker is a List B document holder and/or you intend to continue to employ them employ them. List B documents are fixed-term visas, so the employer must secure a new right to work check to allow the person to continue to work. The repeat right to work check must be secured within 28 days after the List B visa expires. If the visa holder has a pending application with the Home Office, the department/college should use the Employer Checking Service to secure their employee's right to work during this period.

 

A repeat right to work check is not required when:

1. an employee is a List A document holder and a right to work check was already completed before they started their employment
2. a List B document holder will be leaving your employment on/before the expiry date of their visa.

 

 

Below is a list of scenarios where departments/colleges need to do a repeat right to work check
 

If you have completed a right to work check of an 30 day entry vignette and need to do a repeat right to work check of the BRP:

  1. When a new employee (who has applied from overseas and arrived in the UK) is about to start work, the 30 day entry vignette in their passport is copied for right to work purposes. The employee may not have obtained their BRP at this point. They should be able to collect this from the post office after 10 days from their arrival date to the UK.
  2. Once the visa holder has collected their BRP from the post office, a repeat right to work check must be completed of the BRP. CoreHR should be updated with the new details.
    The repeat right to work check should be done before the vignette expires. If there are any delays to the BRP, which makes it impossible to secure a new right to work check before the vignette expires, please contact Staff Immigration Team.

 

If you are extending a List B document holder’s contract beyond expiry of their existing visa:

  1. Approximately 3 months before the expiry date of their existing visa check that the employee/casual worker plans to extend their visa. For Tier 2 and Tier 5 visa holders , the application will be processed via the Staff Immigration Team. All other applications (i.e. Tier 1, ILR, spouse visas) will be handled independently by the employee/ casual worker.
  2. On/ before the expiry date of the existing visa, complete RTW check on the new visa (if available) following steps 1-4 above.
     

If on the expiry date of the existing visa the new visa is not yet received from the Home Office (and therefore you cannot complete a repeat RTW check):

  1. Seek and retain proof that an application to extend the visa was submitted to the Home Office before their existing visa expired. Acceptable proof includes a Home Office acknowledgement letter or proof of postage where it is clear that an application was sent to the Home Office. Once you are reasonably satisfied that an application to extend the visa was made before the existing visa expires, the person’s permission to work is extended for a further 28 days beyond the expiry date of their visa while they await their new visa from the Home Office.
  2. On/ before 21st day after original visa expired, complete a RTW check on the new  visa (if available) following steps 1-4 above.

    If by the 21st day after the expiry date of the existing visa the new visa is still not yet received from Home Office (and therefore you still cannot complete a repeat RTW check):

  3. Contact the Home Office’s Employers Checking Serviceto confirm that an application was received and that they can continue to work. You should contact the Employers Checking Service no later than 21 days after the date the visa expired as it takes up to five days for the Home Office to respond. You will need to complete an interactive online form and will therefore need to have the following information ready:
    • The employee's full name
    • Their date of birth
    • Their nationality
    • The job title
    • The hours worked per week
    • Their home address
    • Their Home Office reference number or case ID (if they have either)
    • The business name
    • The business type
    • The business contact information
  4. Within five working days of submitting a request to the Employer’s Checking Service, the Home Office will respond to verify whether they have received an application and whether they may continue to work. A Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office valid for a further six months.
  5. During the six months validity of the Positive Verification Notice, you should keep in regular contact with the applicant to check when they have received their new visa and complete a RTW check using new visa once it has been received.
  6. If, during any of the stages above you find that an employee’s visa application has been rejected or the Employers Checking Service cannot confirm that an application was received, please contact the Staff Immigration Team immediately.

    Visa holders who apply for an extension to their visa as soon as possible (around three months before the existing visa expires) are likely to receive their new visa from the Home Office before their existing visa expires. This means that you will not need to seek and retain proof that an application was made or contact the employers checking service – please advise visa holders to apply for their visa as soon as possible.

As each academic division administers personnel files for academic appointments in slightly different ways the responsibility to carry out right to work checks and retain records may be assigned differently within different divisions. We recommend, therefore that departments discuss this issue with their divisional office to ensure that practices are consistent within each division and that all parties are clear where responsibility lies for ensuring that:   
 

  • evidence of right to work data for all staff is available for inspection,
  • a List of all List B staff with the expiry dates of their visas is maintained,
  • repeat right to work checks are carried out for List B staff,
  • right to work data for all new starters and all those with List B documents is entered into CORE
     

It is recommended that, even if initial right to work checks are done in the divisional office, departments keep a copy of all right to work checks. Where a copy is held in departments it should be noted on the copy where the original check is stored.

UK visas and Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the form of a vignette which is not in a current passport cannot be accepted as evidence of right to work in the UK. The passport is not considered to be 'current' when the passport holder has obtained a new passport. This means that the vignette and passport cannot be used as a valid right to work check even if the passport has not expired, if a newer passport has been issued to the individual in question.

 

In order to evidence right to work those with a UK visa or ILR in a previous passport will need to submit a ‘Transfer of Conditions’ (TOC) or ‘No Time Limit’ (NTL) application to the Home Office, respectively, to have their vignette re-issued in the form of Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (plastic visa card).

 

Standard postal TOC and NTL applications can take 8 weeks to process but applications can be submitted in person for an additional priority fee. If an application is made in person the new BRP should be issued within 2-3 weeks and you will then be able to complete a right to work check so that the individual can start work. 

 

Home Office guidance on applying to have a visa or ILR transferred to a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), and links to the TOC and NTL application forms can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/transfer-visa

 

If a standard postal application is submitted the applicant should receive a letter from the Home Office within a 1-2 weeks acknowledging receipt of the application. If this letter is presented you can then use the Home Office’s Employer Checking Service (ECS) to verify that an application has been submitted to have the vignette issued as a BRP and that the applicant has right to work while the application is being processed. As you should have the letter verified by the ECS within 2-3 weeks and the individual can start work it is normally only necessary for an application in person to be made, at increased cost to the applicant, where they have urgent travel plans.

Further information can be found in our step by step guide to the Employer Checking Service.

PLEASE NOTE: The individual must not be permitted to undertake any work until they are able to present their visa re-issued as a BRP, or the Home Office letter acknowledging an application has been verified through the Employer Checking Service. Further information on the Employer Checking Service can be found in our guidance on How to complete a right to work check.

 

Family member of EEA national (Residence card holder)

Endorsements under EEA (European) immigration rules where the individual is the family member of an EEA national, such as a Residence Card, Accession Residence Card, Derivative Residence Card, or Permanent Residence Card, can be accepted  as evidence of right to work whether in a current or expired passport, as long as the visa have not expired and is presented along with a current passport in the latter case.

 

 

Training for Administrators


The team runs regular training courses on Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 5, Visitors and Right to Work

BOOK A PLACE ON A TRAINING SESSION

 

Forms & Guidance 


Download the forms and guidance documents

FIND A FORM 

 

Contact us


Medical Sciences

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

MPLS

Nina Song Tel: 01865 289926 Email: nina.song@admin.ox.ac.uk

 

Humanities / Social Sciences / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

James Galloway Tel: 01865 289927 Email: james.galloway@admin.ox.ac.uk

 


 
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