Proving Eligibility to Work

As part of the support that 121 HR Solutions provides to new clients, we check that they are conducting correct “right to work” checks during the recruitment process.  So, exactly what documentation should be checked to verify that the workforce is eligible to work in the UK?

UK employers have a legal obligation to comply with the prevention of illegal working legislation. This requires employers to conduct basic checks on every UK-based employee to verify they have the necessary permission to perform the work on offer.

Importantly, as part of the recruitment or pre-employment process, the checks must be conducted indiscriminately on all prospective employees, regardless of nationality, race or ethnicity. Singling out certain classes of individual could lead to complaints of unlawful discrimination.

There are ways that an individual can prove their eligibility to work, however the most consistently used method is the Manual Right to Work checks.

‘Manual’ checks refer to meeting the individual face to face and checking a physical copy of their acceptable documentation. Such documents to prove the Right to Work are specified by the Home Office under ‘List A’ and ‘List B.’

A summary of these lists is outlined below:

  • List A – British Citizens

For employees who are UK passport holders, the employer must copy and retain the details page of their passport as proof of lawful right to work in the UK.  If a passport is not available, the employer must request, copy and retain their National Insurance number and name (e.g. P45, P60, NI card or letter from a government agency or previous employers) and either a full birth certificate or adoption certificate, or certificate or registration or naturalisation as a British citizen.

  • List A – ILR Holders 

Holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain will be in possession of a Biometric Residence Card (BRP) that clearly states this, or with an endorsement in their passport which clearly shows there is no time limit on their stay in the UK. This must be provided in addition to a document showing NI Number and name. 

  • List A – European Nationals

EU and Swiss nationals with UK settled or pre-settled status must evidence this through the Home Office’s online checking service.

  • List B – Group 1

Employees who have limited time to live and work in the UK are subject to repeat checks which must take place on expiry of their leave. In order to constitute a valid Right to Work check the employer must hold on file a copy of the employee’s immigration status document with photo to show that the employee has the correct entitlement to work. The employee must also provide a copy of a document showing their NI number and name.

  • List B – Group 2

Visa holder employees (limited time to live and work in the UK) are also subject to repeat checks which must take place every six months.

Alongside the usual documents, employers must also retain for this group: Positive Verification Note issued by UKVI alone or with: Certificate of Application to a non-EEA family member or EEA national / Switzerland that is less than 6 months old or; Application Registration Card permitting employment in question.

Record keeping is critical for Right to Work compliance. Employers must retain copies of the documents provided and record the date of the check. Copies must be legible and clear, and kept in a form that cannot be edited, such as a pdf scan or a photocopy.

Contact us at and we can discuss any queries you may have on this subject.

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