Before you employ a new Personal Assistant (PA) you must check that they are legally entitled to work in the United Kingdom. You must check this for all the PAs that you employ regardless of their nationality and you should not automatically assume that someone does or doesn’t have the right to work in the UK.
This fact sheet should be read in conjunction with employer template 4.1(a) Personnel sheet (checking the right to work in the UK) which provides you with a check list of documents that you can use to verify your PAs right to work in the UK. Further information on checking an individual’s right to work in the UK is provided by the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) on their website: www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work.
Checking your PA has the right to work in the UK
Before your PA begins work with you, you must check that they have the right to work in the UK. Every new PA that you employ must demonstrate their right to work in the UK by showing you certain documents such as their passport or through an online check. Employer template 4.1(a) Personnel sheet (checking the right to work in the UK) contains a full list of documents that you can ask to see.
When making these checks you must not discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, ethnic or national origin. Never automatically assume that someone does or doesn’t have the right to work in the UK.
If you employ an illegal worker you may face an unlimited fine or a custodial sentence. This includes employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have leave to remain or work in the UK or those whose leave had expired, if they were not allowed to do certain types of work or if their papers were incorrect or false. It is a criminal offence to knowingly employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK.
Further information about the civil and criminal penalty system can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/penalties-for-employing-illegal-workers.
Making the proper checks
There are two ways of making these checks online or by checking the PA’s original documents manually.
This can be completed easily for UK and Irish citizens who can use their passport as proof of right to work. A manual check can also be completed for individuals if they are not able to share their right to work information with you online.
You can view the steps and documents for the manual check in employer template 4.1(a) Personnel sheet (checking the right to work in the UK).
Many individuals can now share their right to work online. This includes anyone with online access to their immigration status information (an eVisa) and holders of biometric residence permits and cards.
An online right to work check is required for individuals who hold an eVisa. This applies to most EU citizens, including those with settled or pre-settled status, and some other nationalities who have moved to the UK more recently under the points-based immigration system.
To do this you will need the PA’s date of birth, their right to work ‘share code’ and the following website www.gov.uk/view-right-to-work.
Checking the documents
a) The person’s photograph matches their appearance and the date of birth is accurate. You must check documents are valid with the applicant present.
b) That the documents are original, valid and genuine (and match up with any details provided on the application form), and the information on them are the same across all documents and have not been tampered with
c) That any relevant expiry dates have not passed
d) Any UK Government stamp states that the holder is allowed to do the type of work you are offering including any limit on the number of hours they can work.
e) If you are employing a student they should show you evidence of their study and vacation times.
f) If two documents show different names, the PA should provide supporting evidence as to why e.g. marriage certificate, divorce decree.
Recording the check
a) Take a photocopy the documents that you have viewed in full.
b) Record the date you made the check on the photocopied document and on employer template 4.1(a) Personnel sheet (checking the right to work in the UK).
c) Keep these copies during their employment and for two years after they stop working for you. They should be kept in a locked file along with the employee’s personnel sheet, employment contract, etc. After this you must securely destroy the document.