Home Office publishes updated guidance on preventing illegal working


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The Home Office has updated its guidance on preventing illegal working and replaced the Code issues in May 2014.

It sets out the prescribed checks that employers should conduct to avoid a civil penalty in the event of illegal working. It is a statutory Code and may be used as evidence in legal proceedings. The guidance has been updated to reflect the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) (Code of Practice and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2018, which provides that employers may establish a statutory excuse against liability for an illegal working civil penalty by conducting an online right to work check using the Home Office online right to work checking service.

The guidance states that since 28 January 2019 employers have had the option to conduct either a manual right to work check, or an online right to work check in order to establish a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event that an employee is found to be working illegally. The Home Office online right to work checking service sets out the information and/or the documentation the employer will need in order to access the service. In circumstances where an online check is not possible the employer should conduct a manual right to work check.

There are three basic steps to conducting an online right to work check:

  • Use the Home Office online right to work checking service in respect of an individual and only employ them if the online check confirms they are entitled to do the work in question.
  •  Be satisfied that any photograph on the online right to work check is of the individual presenting themselves for work.
  •  Retain a copy of the response provided by the online right to work check for the duration of the employment and for two years afterwards

This article is taken from HR Law - February 2019.

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