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|Basic document checks|
According to the Asylum and Immigration Act 2006 all UK employers are required by law to make basic document checks on each person they intend to employ in order to establish that they have a right to work in the UK and are here legally. Failure to make these checks puts the employer at risk of committing a criminal offence.
It is essential that these checks are carried out on all potential employees whether or not you think they have a right to work in the UK by making assumptions based on their appearance or accent. You could face prosecution under the Race Relations Act 1976 and an unlimited fine if you do not ask all potential employees these questions.
Please tick all documents seen, using the Illegal worker’s checklist provided by Stafftax when you subscribe to our services, and take copies and keep them in a safe place. Both the checklist and the copies may be used to help you establish a statutory excuse if the documents later turn out to be fraudulent or the worker is proven not to have the right to work in the UK.
If the person you wish to employ produces a document from List A the “statutory excuse” is provided for the whole of their employment with you. A document from List B indicates that the individual only has limited leave to remain in the UK and therefore you must repeat the document check at least every 12 months until the employee can produce documents from List A.
If they cannot produce documents from List A do not assume that you must automatically dismiss them on the basis that they are an illegal worker. You will need to establish if they are in the process of receiving documents from List A and use that information to inform your decision on the right course of action.
If you knowingly employ someone without the right to work in the UK you are committing an offence that carries a new penalty of up to two years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Failing to establish the statutory excuse by not carrying out the checks also carries a punitive penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
Please note that for persons recruited before 28 February 2008 the rules are slightly different and the document checks provide employers with a Section 8 defense, rather than a statutory excuse.
Domestic employment is probably the only profession left in the UK where wages are still commonly agreed on the basis of net (i.e. take-home) pay. But there are considerable financial implications at stake for both employer and employee.