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Human Resources

Guidance on Right to Work Checks

All potential employees require a right to work check, regardless of their nationality. This must be conducted before employment/work commences. Via Oleeo we have sourced TrustID, a digital identity technology software that will enable us to conduct a Right to Work check for the majority of our prospective employees. As part of the pre-employment checks , the prospective offer holder will need to undertake their a Right to Work check  - this being managed by TrustID all within Oleeo. Once TrustID has been able to provide a satisfactory report, you as the hiring manager will be able to see the report and validate their identity by way of an in person check or via MS Teams to verify their identity.


  • Candidate commences Pre-employment checks (RtW)
  • Satisfactory TrustID report generated
  • Hiring manager views TrustID report and schedules an MS Teams call or in person meeting with prospective candidate prior to employment start date
  • Hiring manager confirms person they have meet is the person on the TrustID report.
  • Hiring manger agrees to mandatory declaration on RtW being completed on summary page before contract is sent out.

If hiring manager is unable to validate a successful RtW because identity is not matched or candidate is unable to continue through TrustID process – contact HR Recruitment Team for manual intervention

Why must we conduct a Right to Work

Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and the Immigration Act 2016, the University has a legal responsibility to ensure that all employees have the right to work in the UK. Checks on right to work must be carried out for every person the University intends to employ regardless of their race, ethnicity, or nationality before they begin any work. If we do not comply with our duty to ensure our employees have the right to work in the UK, there are serious penalties for non-compliance:

  • On-the-spot fines of up to £45,000 for each illegal worker employed.
  • A maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine if illegal workers are employed knowingly and/or a maximum five year prison sentence where you had "reasonable cause to believe" that an indivdual was not entitled to work in the UK by virtue of their immigration status.
  • Down-grading the University's sponsor licence, with subsequent timed action plan to regain fully compliant status. The University would not be able to sponsor any individuals under the Skilled Worker or Temporary Worker GAE visa routes during any period when our licence is downgraded, or
  • Withdrawal of the sponsor licence, with the consequence that all sponsored individuals would have to leave the University.
  • Right to Work checks must be done for all prospective employees prior to their first day of employment.
  • A right to work check must be done irrespective of the length of the engagement or employment contract.
  • A check must be done each time the person is engaged by the University. We cannot reuse previous right to work checks.
  • Only documents from lists A or B of the attached document are acceptable evidence of a right to work
  • The most up to date version of this list will always be on the Home Office website here.
  • Documents not listed will be rejected and delay the employee’s start date. 

Non-EEA nationals who are in the UK on a student visa may be able to work for Queen Mary depending on the conditions of their visa. 

A Tier 4 or Student visa issued for full-time degree level studies allows students to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term-time. This is a maximum of 20 hours in total in any one week, including paid or unpaid work and for one or more organisation. The 20 hours cannot be averaged over a longer period.  A 'week' is defined by the Home Office as a period of 7 days beginning with a Monday. Please note that the definition of term time will vary depending on the student’s level of study.

Further information on employing students can be found in the Managers Guidance section here.

A Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa holder, not sponsored by Queen Mary, may be able to work for the University where the following requirements are met:

  • The job is either included on the Shortage Occupation List, or is in the same profession and at the same professional level, as the work for which their Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned; and
  • Is for no more than 20 hours per week; and
  • Conducted outside of the normal working hours for which their Certificate of Sponsorship was assigned. The individual must be continuing to work for their sponsor. 

In addition, they must continue to work for their sponsor in the job recorded on their Certificate of Sponsorship.

If you wish to employ someone on a Tier 2 / Skilled Worker visa

Please contact HR before engaging anyone on a Tier 2 /Skilled Worker visa; we will require sight of the following documents:

  • Their right to work documents;
  • Their Certificate of Sponsorship;
  • Confirmation from their employer that this role will not interfere with their regular employment;
  • A completed Supplementary Work Declaration [DOC 122KB].

More information about the Skilled Worker route can be found in Guidance for Managers.

Endorsements showing that the prospective employee is exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely (ILR) in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK can only be relied on if they are in a current passport.

Where someone has an expired passport endorsed to show that they are exempt from immigration control, is allowed to stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay in the UK (whether in the form of a stamp or a visa) they will need to submit a No Time Limit application to the Home Office to be issued with a BRP, showing that they have Indefinite Leave to Remain/ No Time Limit on their stay in the UK. However in lieu of this we can conduct a manual check – please liaise with HR in order to do this manual check.

Please note that refugee and asylum seekers require additional evidence before we can establish whether they can work in the UK.  Refugees are generally issued a Blue British Travel Document and a Biometric Residence Card.  We require sight of both of these documents, the travel document alone is not evidence of a right to work. 

Asylum seekers are issued with an Application Registration Card (ARC), which will look the same as a BRP.  This alone is not evidence of a right to work; HR will also need to contact the Home Office via the Employer Checking Service to confirm any right to work. Please contact HR before employing anyone considered a refugee or asylum seeker.

If a refugee or asylum seeker is unable to work it will be stated on the BRP / ARC.

Employee's who present a valid list B document as evidence of their right to work will require a follow up check to ensure they they can still legally work in the UK.

As the manager of a member of staff working at Queen Mary on a UK visa, you should be aware of your responsibilities for ensuring that Queen Mary is compliant with immigration rules and that your staff do not breach their visa conditions. 

Visa expiry process

All staff are required to demonstrate that they have the right to work for the duration of their employment.  Individual's with a time limited visa must make an application to either extend their visa or switch immigration category before their current visa expires. This is referred to as a "in-time" application. 

Where an in-time application has been made the terms of the individual's visa will be extended for the period they are awaiting a decision from the Home Office.  

HR has a record of all time limited visas and will normally send a reminder to staff to renew their visas 3 months prior to their visa expiry date. As a line manager you should ensure that you are aware of your staff’s visa expiry dates and actively encourage them to renew their visas promptly so that you can be confident that they will still be able to work after their visa expires.

Working while awaiting a visa application

If an in-time application is made the individual will continue to be able to work for the University, subject to the terms of their expired visa.  HR will need to use the Home Office Employer Checking Service to confirm the outstanding application in order to maintain a statutory excuse against prosecution. A positive verification will provide a 6 month excuse while the application is being processed.  

New visa

Once an individual has successfully applied for a new visa a new right to work check must be conducted.  This must be done as soon as possible after the individual receives their new visa. 

From 1 July 2021, the majority of EEA citizens will prove their right to work using the Home Office online right to work service. Those who have made a successful application to the EU Settlement Scheme will have been granted their immigration status digitally and can only prove their right to work using Home Office online service ‘prove your right to work to an employer’ available on GOV.UK:

To prove their right to work from 1 July 2021, individuals will provide the University with a share code and their date of birth, which will enable us to check their Home Office immigration status via the online service available on GOV.UK:

The University will obtain a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty if you carry out the check using the online service.

  • If an EEA citizen has been granted ‘Settled Status’ by the Home Office, they will have a continuous right to work, in the same way as someone with Indefinite Leave to Enter / Remain status.
  • If an EEA citizen has been granted ‘Pre-Settled Status’ by the Home Office, they will have a time-limited right to work and you must carry out a follow-up check. The Home Office online service will advise when a follow-up check must be carried out.

EU Settled Status can be checked online on the Government website.  The individual will provide you with a "share code" which you can use to access their online account.

Exceptions to the Home Office online service when proving right to work

As of 1 July, there will be some cohorts of EEA citizens who will not have status under the EUSS. They will evidence their right to work using specified documents if they cannot use the Home Office online system. These are detailed below:

  • Service Provider of Switzerland visas
  • Outstanding applications to UK EUSS
  • Outstanding applications to Crown Dependency EUSS


Anyone coming to the University to undertake any form of work whether paid or unpaid will require a right to work check. If you intend to invite someone to Queen Mary to undertake any work please ensure that they apply for the correct visa prior to their arrival in the UK. 

Please refer to the Academic visitor guidance for further information.


HR will need to contact the Home Office to check an employee or potential employee’s immigration employment status if one of the following applies:

  • you’re reasonably satisfied that they cannot show you their documents because of an outstanding appeal, administrative review or application with the Home Office
  • they have an Application Registration Card
  • they have a Certificate of Application that is less than 6 months old
  • they’re a Commonwealth citizen who’s been living in the UK since before 1988

Application registration cards and certificates of application must state that the work the employer is offering is permitted. Many of these documents do not allow the person to work.

The Home Office will send the University a ‘Positive Verification Notice’ to confirm that the applicant has the right to work.

EEA nationals who wish to come to the UK for work or study after 1 January 2021 will generally require a visa before they can enter the country. 

EEA nationals who successfully apply for a visa will not be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) they will have an online status only.  This will need to be checked via the the Home Office's online checking service rather than as a physical check.  

More information about electronic visas for EEA nationals can be found on the Home Office website.


Unfortunately, there will be times when an individual cannot access the online right to work check system to produce a share code.  

If they are not able to provide an acceptable document then they should contact the UK Visas and Immigration contact centre:

Telephone: +44 (0)300 790 6268 - select option 3
Telephone: +44 (0)203 875 4669, if they are unable to dial 0300 numbers

The service is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday, 9:30am to 4:30pm

Further information can be found on the Government website.


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