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Eligibility To Work In The UK

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 1 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Eligibility Work Uk Documents Eea

Some people are automatically entitled to work in the UK. Others may have restrictions on whether they can work, how long they can stay and the type of work they can do.

It is important to follow set procedures and to ascertain whether or not a person is eligible to work in the UK before employing them. If you ignore this, you run the risk of facing prosecution for illegally offering work to somebody who is not eligible to take that job.

It's worth remembering, when checking an employee's eligibility, that many people from minority groups who live in the UK are British citizens so it is necessary to ensure that your recruitment process does not discriminate against a person on the basis of their Racial Background.

Checking a Person's Entitlement to Work in The UK

It is a criminal offence to employ anyone who is subject to immigration control who doesn't have the necessary paperwork to work in the UK or to do the kind of job you're offering. The maximum penalty is £5000 per illegal employee upon summary conviction in a magistrate's court. However, there is no upper limit to the fine imposed by a Crown Court following indictment.

There are, by law, two lists of documents acceptable as evidence of legal working status in the UK. More information about these lists can be obtained from the Home Office. You must ask prospective employees to produce one of the original documents from list 1 or two of the original documents from the combinations in list 2. They must be original documents which can be authenticated, not photocopies or faxed copies, and must be on the list as outlined by the Home Office. For example, a P45 or P60 no longer provides an employer with a statutory defence if produced on its own as it's now on list 2 so another valid document from that list is required by law in addition.

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that your potential employee is the rightful owner of the presented documents. Any specific information within a passport or other travel document should indicate that the individual is permitted to undertake the kind of work you are offering. In addition, you should ensure that you follow the revised Code of Practice on racial equality in employment which was introduced in 2005 and became statutory in April 2006. More details about this can be obtained from the Commission of Racial Equality (CRE).

It is also crucial to keep copies of all documents in their entirety as the Immigration Service can examine your right to defence if they suspect anyone illegally working for you. It isn't appropriate, however, to keep hold of all the original documents. They should be copied in full and the originals returned to the owner. You should also keep hold of these copied documents for a minimum of 3 years after the employee has ceased working for you.

Who Doesn't Need Permission to Work?

The main groups not subject to immigration control and who are employable without restriction are:
  • British citizens
  • Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode in the UK
  • European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals - although some will need to register with the Home Office. * NB - It's important to contact the Home Office to establish if a potential employee comes from one of the permitted countries in the EEA.
  • Family members of nationals from EEA countries and Switzerland, providing that the EEA national is lawfully residing in the UK.

Other Employment Routes

In addition to the eligibility criteria already mentioned, there are also managed migration routes available to allow overseas nationals to work in the UK without work permits. These include those entering under the 'Highly Skilled Migrant Programme' which is an individual migration route for highly skilled people to come to the UK for work or self-employment opportunities. Other routes include the 'Working Holidaymaker Scheme' whereby Commonwealth citizens between the ages of 17 and 30 can come to the UK for an extended holiday of up to 2 years and are entitled to work for up to 12 months during their stay under the scheme.

Students from outside the EEA membership countries who are over 16 are also allowed to take some work in the UK, providing they adhere to the conditions of entry and are given leave as a student. However, there are conditions. You can only employ a student for up to 20 hours per week during term-time, except where the placement is to meet the definition of their sandwich course or internship. You can employ them full-time outside term-time as long as they still have valid leave. A student from outside the EEA must neither work outside their valid leave, engage in business or self-employment, provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer nor must they fill a permanent, full-time vacancy.

If in doubt or you wish to find out further information, contact the Home Office or Immigration Service.

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I am an Indian citizen. After my Bachelors in India, I have shifted to Germany on EU student visa for my Master's degree and completed the study and continuing my residence here in Germany. I'm interested in a PhD position in the Northern Ireland and need to know, as asked in the respective application process, if I am entitled to work in the UK?
Master - 1-Jun-17 @ 9:36 AM
My girlfriend is American and has an Irish Passport as well as a U.S one. Can she work in the UK?
Gazza - 14-May-17 @ 1:07 PM
Hi, Am going to study MSc Engineering Management in Nottingham Trent University with 1 year work placement. Also i have +1 year experience as a sales engineer in Dubai. Do i have an eligibility to work in UK after graduation?. I love to live in UK and i wish to get a work or atleast a work placement.
Quaay - 13-May-17 @ 1:18 PM
I want to work in uk .i am 10th class pass.i m from india.can i work in uk.
vj - 10-Feb-17 @ 8:05 PM
Good day,I'm currently studying Physics in one of the best colleges in Nigeria but have a determination to become a medical physicist.And I'm interested to go for Scientists training Program in UK after my graduation.I want to know if I'm eligible to apply for the STP.
wise one - 3-Feb-17 @ 10:29 PM
flower- Your Question:
A'm a Ugandan citizen a graduate with a bachelor's degree in Business Studies with Education. A'm so much inspired by the jobs in UK, but what are the legal requirements for me to be eligible to work from there. Thanks Looking forward to hear from u

Our Response:
You need to have a job before you can come to the UK on a general visa - more information here
SafeWorkers - 22-Nov-16 @ 10:28 AM
A'm a Ugandan citizen a graduate with a bachelor's degree in Business Studies with Education. A'm so much inspired by the jobs in UK, but what are the legal requirements for me to be eligible to work from there. Thanks Looking forward to hear from u
flower - 21-Nov-16 @ 9:23 AM
My husband and I have Permanent resident card of Canada. Are we eligible to work in UK? I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely yours, Pershia Mohammadzadeh
Pishi - 4-Nov-16 @ 6:43 PM
Maga - Your Question:
Good afternoon,I'm a student at City University of London. I have a tier 4 visa and I want to get a job in UK while studying. So my question is am I eligible for working?

Our Response:
If you are studying at abovebachelors degree level you can work for up to 20 hours per week during term time. If your course is at a level below degree level you can work for up to 10 hours per week during term time.
SafeWorkers - 25-Aug-16 @ 12:04 PM
Good afternoon, I'm a student at City University of London. I have a tier 4 visa and i want to get a job in UK while studying. So my question is am I eligible for working?
Maga - 22-Aug-16 @ 4:52 PM
I want to work in united british
Randa - 18-Jul-16 @ 12:30 PM
I'm St.LucianI'm hopefully to be getting a job in the UK . Can I apply for a work permit to work in the UK. I thank you.
Curlin - 10-Jul-16 @ 4:14 AM
Don - Your Question:
I am a Newly Graduated Registered Nurse from Grenada. I am interested in moving to the UK to work. My Husband is also a professional plumber. I will like to know how can we can be eligible to work in the UK

Our Response:
There are several processes you will need to go through Nurses trained outside the UK and EEA must go through a 2-part application process to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Part one is a computer based multiple-choice exam - which should be accessible if your country. Part two is a practical objective structured clinical examination (OSCE) which is held in the UK. For more information about the application process vist the NMC page here. You and your husband will also need to apply for the appropriate work visas to come and work here in the UK.Details are here on the government website
SafeWorkers - 12-May-16 @ 11:34 AM
I am a Newly Graduated Registered Nurse from Grenada. I am interested in moving to the UK to work. My Husband is also a professional plumber. I will like to know how can we can be eligible to work in the UK
Don - 9-May-16 @ 3:13 PM
Recently i have applied for a post called WORKSHOP INSTRUCTOR at UTC. But they are asking me to show any proof to show my eligibility to work in UK. What eligibility I need other than my educational qualifications and my experience. Pl inform me in this regard.
john - 7-Mar-16 @ 5:54 PM
Iam b.tech student and i have work in indian company i want to go to uk can any one tell me the ctiteria
piku - 25-Nov-15 @ 8:40 PM
I am a Nigerian graduate of building seeking to work in the united kingdom but I am having only a Nigerian passport how do I become eligible to work in the United Kingdom because I saw some job applications on the internet that requires me to be eligible to work in the united kingdom
Enclave - 23-Sep-15 @ 4:19 PM
I am an Egyptian Citizen .. I stayed. for six month in the UK the last year together with my Egyptian wife and my Egyptian kids under " General Visitor Tourist Visas" for all of us. Kids had joined schools during that period. I have registered a limited company at Companies house, I am and still the Only Director for the Company and my wife is the Only Company Secretary. We had successfully opened a Personal Bank Accounts and another Business Bank Account for the Company. The Question now is : Do we, My wife and I , have the right to work and stay in the UK now?? Can we apply for Business Visas using the companies documents? Taking in consideration that the company recently has been officially registered for Vat and all the documents required are in hand and ready to show upon request.
Ashraf - 8-Sep-15 @ 1:26 AM
I am from India passport holder with 7 years of strong digital marketing experience. I have done works under small-medium companies so far. I am interested to move UK but looking like the eligibility terms and career advice. Thanks in advance.
ams - 21-Jan-15 @ 4:52 AM
I am a fresh electrical engineer having pakistani passport only.i have seen advertisment of a brithish company on internet & want to apply for job.they had written in their eligiblity section the phrase "CANDIDATE MUST BE ELIGIBLE TO WORK IN UK" can some one please let me guide what restrictions are there for a person & under what circumstances he is illigible to work in uk.i shall look forward to hear from you......
shani - 28-Feb-13 @ 8:43 AM
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