Right to Work checks

Why are Right to Work (RTW) checks important? 

  • All employers have the responsibility to prevent illegal working.
  • If you conduct the necessary right to work check you will have a statutory excuse against a civil penalty if found to be employing and illegal worker.
  • The University of Bristol holds a Sponsor Licence under the UK’s immigration system. If we are found to be employing an illegal worker and do not have a statutory excuse, as well as receiving a large fine the university risks losing this sponsor licence and therefore it’s ability to be a leading HEI.
  • You will commit a criminal offence if you know or have reasonable cause to believe that you are employing an illegal worker. You may face up to 5 years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

How do we undertake RTW checks?

  • All new starters are required to present evidence of their Right to Work in the UK before they are employed which means prior to their first day of employment.
  • There are 3 types of right to work check: Manual, Online via Home Office Right to Work portal and IDVT (British & Irish valid passport holders only).
  • Since 6th April 2022 employers can no longer carry out a manual right to work check on those who hold a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biomentric Residence Card (BRC) or a Frontier Worker Permit (FWP). An online RTW check must be carried out from this date, in the prescribed manner before employment commences.
  • In addition to all University of Bristol employees, RTW/visa checks should be undertaken for casual workers, Temporary Worker GAE visa holders, examiners, unpaid workers, anyone doing work experience who is over the age of 16 and Student / Tier 4 visa holders. If you are unsure if a RTW check should be done contact the Staff Immigration Team.
  • The check is normally undertaken by the Staff Immigration Team or the HR onboarding team after the contract has been issued, however there are some exceptions. The following departments are required to carry out RTW checks locally: 
    Coombe Dingle Sports Complex, 
    Residential and Conference Services, 
    School of Veterinary Science (Langford site), 
    Site Services (including Langford)
  • Where a RTW check is carried out locally all documents should then be forwarded to the HR onboarding team who will then record all details on HR systems.
Conducting an online RTW check  
  • This is done via an online service: https://www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work
  • The individual must provide you with a ‘share code’ either directly or via email from the service.
  • You will need this and their date of birth to access their record.
  • You must access the ‘View a job applicant’s right to work’ page.
  • Check the photograph is of the individual presenting themselves. You can do this via video call in real time alongside the share code check.
  • You must retain evidence of the check (the ‘profile’ page) by ticking the check boxes (if there are any) and then either printing or saving to PDF the same day that you carry out the check. This is the page that includes the photo, date and time the check was conducted.
IDVT (via Verifile) 
  • Use Verifile to carry out a digital identity check (for British/Irish valid passport holders only).

Identity/Imposter check 

  • Arrange a video call with the worker in real time alongside the sharecode or verifile check. Check the individual presenting themself matches the photograph/documentation.
  • Screenshot the video call, sign and record the date & time you made the check and print or save to a PDF the same day you carry out the check.

Conducting a manual RTW check: Obtain, Check, Copy

  • Obtain original versions of 1 or more acceptable documentsfrom either List A or List B (Annex A) of acceptable documents. List A are right to work documents which are not time limited. List B are documents showing time limited right to work.
  • Check the document’s validity in the presence of the holder. Check photographs and dates of birth are consistent, check expiry dates have not passed, any work restrictions, reasons for any name changes, etc.
  • Make and retain a clear copy and record the date it was made. Simply writing a date on the copy document does not confirm that this is the actual date when the check was undertaken. If you write a date on the copy document, you must also record that this is the date on which you conducted the check as follows: ‘the date on which this right to work check was made: [insert date]’ or a manual or digital record may be made at the time you conduct the RTW check and copy the documents which includes this information.  
If you have any queries about a RTW check conducted locally please contact the Staff Immigration Team.
If you currently carry out RTW checks, or will do so in the future, you must attend an up to date RTW training session. If you have not attended a training session since 1st April 2022 contact the Staff Immigration Team to arrange one.
Last updated 16/11/2023