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What is a Right to Work Check?

These pages provide guidance to staff carrying out Right to Work checks, and general information on eligibility to work for individuals.

We have a legal obligation to ensure that all prospective employees and workers, including casual staff, one-offs, sponsored workers, and visiting lecturers, have the right to work in the UK.  This must be checked and evidenced prior to any work taking place at Queen Mary. 

Guidance for Managers

In addition to these pages we have also created the below documents to assist staff members undertaking Right to Work checks. 

Recruitment Advice for Managers [DOC 115KB]

Recruitment Checklist [DOC 66KB]

Visa Advice for Academic Visitors [PDF 478KB]

Invitation Letter Visa Paragraph [DOC 97KB]

Right to Work Training

This training is for all those who manage and administer immigration and right to work procedures in Departments and Schools. Below is the Presentation slides and links from the previous training sessions.

Right to Work Training Slides [PDF 1,623KB]

Right to Work Training Links [PDF 52KB]

Background

As an employer, Queen Mary University of London has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal migrants from working in the UK.  Queen Mary is therefore required to conduct basic document checks on every person it intends to employ to ensure that it only employs those with a legal right to work in the UK; and to establish a legal ‘excuse’ against liability for payment of a civil penalty if an illegal worker is erroneously employed. The Act also covers employer responsibilities for tracking and monitoring the immigration status of migrant workers once employed, and reporting unauthorised absence.

Non-Compliance

Queen Mary has a responsibility to ensure that every employee, worker, and visitor (however brief the visit) is properly entitled to work in, and/or participate in the activities of, the University. It is essential that we comply with the legislation of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, and with the policies and regulations of the Home Office. The Home Office will check Queen Mary’s compliance with the law, probably in unannounced visits direct to the employing institutions.

The Immigration Act 2016 made illegal working a criminal offence in its own right and widened the nature of the criminal offence of employing an illegal worker. The changes mean that an illegal worker can receive 51 weeks imprisonment and fines, and that an employer may be prosecuted not only if they knowingly employ an illegal worker but also if they had reasonable cause to believe that the person did not have the right to work.  The consequences of non-compliance are very serious, and the penalties that can be imposed are potentially severe as follows:

On-the-spot fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker;

  • A maximum 5-year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine if illegal workers are employed knowingly, or when there was reasonable cause to believe that they did not have the right to work;

  • Down-grading of Queen Mary’s sponsor licence to a B rating (partially compliant) with subsequent timed action plan to regain A status, and further regular compliance visits to the same, and other, departments;

  • Withdrawal of the sponsor (i.e. University) licence, with the consequence that all sponsored visa holders would have to leave the University and the UK.

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