Thousands of employees with valid visas in expired passports potentially being employed illegally

Employers are unwittingly failing to establish the ‘statutory excuse’ required by the Home Office to avoid liability for civil penalties for employing staff without a right to work in the UK.

The issue arises where a visa, submitted as proof of right to work, is presented in an expired passport. A visa maintained in an expired passport has not been an acceptable proof of an employee’s right to work since 16th May 2014.

Home Office rules in this area require employees (and their employers) to ensure that the visa or permit is contained in a current passport or biometric residence permit.

This poses a real challenge for employers who are unaware of the technicalities involved when it comes to ensuring that staff have a right to work in the UK.

NSL Checking Technical Director, Ken Hanslip notes, “A number of the right to work checks NSL undertake on behalf of UK employers will fail as a result of a document not conferring a right to work. In a significant proportion of cases, checks are failing for reasons that are not immediately obvious without a detailed understanding of Home Office rules.”

Statutory civil penalties for employing staff without a right to work (whether at the start of employment or during the lifetime of the employment contract) can be significant. Between July and September 2017, the Home Office issued 600 Civil Penalties to employers totalling in excess of £9.5 million, with an average Civil Penalty of £16,000.

NSL Checking offer a wide range of solutions, including identity document validation services for businesses with an existing right to work checking function, through to audit, training and fully outsourced services. For more information please visit the links below.

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