Employing overseas nationals and obtaining permission to work in the UK

Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 we have a legal duty to prevent illegal working by checking documents to confirm that everyone we employ (including people from the UK) has the right to work in the UK.

If we employ an illegal migrant worker we could be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker and if they are knowingly employed there could also be an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years.

  • We have to check certain documents so we can establish a 'statutory excuse' against liability for payment of a civil penalty if someone is wrongly employed.
  • We also have a responsibility to track and monitor the immigration status of migrant workers once they are employed and report unauthorised absence.
  • Checks need to be carried out for every person that we intend to employ, regardless of their race, ethnicity or nationality to avoid any potential discrimination. The Home Office has a code of practice on complying with the law without discriminating.

Where can I go for help?

  • These pages contain guidance about how we can make sure we aren't employing anyone illegally and the processes we have to follow and checks we need to carry out.
  • If you can't find an answer to your query, you can contact your Faculty/Service HR Manager/Officer and/or the International HR team.
  • UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), which is part of the Home Office, has information on its website.
  • UKVI also has an Employer Checking Service which you can use to check the status of anyone who currently has an application or appeal being considered by the Home Office and has provided a ‘holding letter’ confirming this.