Right To Work in the UK: Everything Employers Need To Know

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In this article, we’ll discuss the right to work in the UK, including what eligible employees need to complete the process.

Key Facts

  • Individuals have the right to work without restrictions if they’re natural-born or fully settled citizens of the United Kingdom.

  • Employees require personal identification and other government documents to verify their right to work. 

  • Right to work verification is now mainly an online process with the share code service. 

Who Has the Right To Work in the UK?

British or Irish citizens have the right to work with no limitations, as do people who’ve earned valid settled status within the UK. However, they still need to prove their right to work to an employer.

Non-UK citizens have their right to work determined by their immigration status and any restrictions placed on them by their grant of leave. For example, someone with a scale-up work visa is only permitted to perform the work indicated under their visa category for whatever period of time was granted to them.

There is no specific immigration provision for international employees working remotely, however.  

Which Documents Prove the Right To Work in the UK?

Potential employees can use several acceptable documents to prove their right to work. Exactly which documents is dependant on the status of the applicant’s citizenship. 

The paperwork you’re most likely to see includes:

  • Passports: A government-issued ID grants the bearer the ability to travel to and from foreign countries. 

  • Birth Certificate: A birth certificate verifies birth country and birthdate for right-to-work proof purposes.

  • Adoption Certificate: This document proves an individual’s identity after they’re adopted. 

  • Naturalisation Certificate: This document serves as legal evidence of someone’s acquisition of British citizenship. 

  • Share Code: This personal identifier works as proof of an individual’s right to work. It’s usually submitted along with a date of birth when checking an individual’s right to work status online.

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How Do Employers Check One’s Right To Work?

Before January 2019, employers had to manually confirm a potential employee’s right-to-work status by acquiring original copies of their documentation and keeping copies on file. Only certain parts of the process were done online.

Now, employers can use a free online check as the sole method of checking someone’s right to work. To use the online check, the employee needs a biometric residence permit or biometric residence card and status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

After April 6, 2022 the right-to-work status of Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC), and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders can only be verified through the online check. Physical cards are no longer valid proof.

Online Check

The Home Office provides the online check to streamline the right-to-work verification process. People can register their documentation and generate a share code by applying through a government portal. This code plus their date of birth is all employers need to access their information in the Home Office database. 

Original Documents Check

Before the share code, employers required physical documentation to verify a worker’s immigration status. The documents provided were then copied to make a formal record. 

Frequently Asked Questions About the Right To Work in the UK

How Do You Prove Right To Work in the UK?

Employees must provide documentation proving that they are UK residents or that their visa gives them the right to work in a particular industry.  

What Documents Do I Need for Right To Work?

Applicable right to work documentation includes a range of items that can prove UK citizenship or naturalisation, including passports and birth certificates as well as a share code.

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Many businesses rely on organised record-keeping to keep track of right to work documents and other information. Personio can help you keep track of important employee information with a centralised, easily accessible storage space for all of your data. Book your free demo today to learn how Personio can help you manage your business.


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