The right to work in the UK
When hiring staff, employers must make sure that the employee has the right to work in the UK as the penalty for employing an illegal worker may be a fine of up to £20,000. Most British and EEA nationals have the right to work in the UK without having to obtain any additional permission from the Home Office. The employer should complete appropriate checks to ensure that the prospective employee has the right to work before making any offer of employment. These include obtaining a copy of the employee’s passport and work permit, if applicable. Identity documents should be checked to ensure that they are both original and valid, and copies should be dated for reference and retained on the employee’s personnel record. The Home Office maintains a useful guide explaining the checks which should be completed by employers to help prevent illegal working.
Employers should be cautious when requiring prospective employees to complete pre-employment health questionnaires or health checks in order to avoid potentially discriminating against a prospective employee on the grounds of disability. These checks should only be completed where there is a legal requirement to do so or where it is absolutely necessary, for example in order to satisfy insurance requirements.
From 10th March 2015, it is now illegal to require potential and current employees to provide a copy of their criminal record unless a specific requirement of the role requires this check for example if the position involves working with vulnerable individuals or children.