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Right to work policy

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This model right to wok policy outlines managers’ responsibilities with regards to ensuring that staff they recruit have the right to work in the UK.

Reading time
How long to understand and implement this policy?
5 mins
Word count
How many words in this policy?
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What is a Right to work policy?

The purpose of this Right to work policy is to provide you with a flexible and customisable document to serve as a robust and effective starting point for you.

By using our Right to work policy, you can streamline your process, maintain consistency and accuracy, and save time, and it can be easily adapted to fit your specific scenario.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this policy be issued?
During onboarding / after changes / planned refresher
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this policy, and to whom?
Internally issued to appropriate recipients in your Company
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this policy be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

Right to work Policy


Employers must examine specific documents to ensure that employees and workers have the legal right to work in the UK.

While it is the individual's obligation to gain the right to work and submit the necessary documents, it is ultimately [Company]'s responsibility to guarantee that all of its employees have the right to work in the UK. If [Company] is discovered to be hiring someone without the proper papers, it will be held liable.


This policy applies to permanent, fixed term and casual staff equally.

General principles

Acceptable documents

There are two lists of documents that are accepted as proof of a worker's permission to work in the United Kingdom. List A contains documentation proving an indefinite right to work in the UK, whereas List B contains documents proving a restricted right. Additional inspections will be necessary for List B documents.

On the website, the Home Office provides a checklist that includes both listings. Alternatively, [HR/other person] can provide information on which papers are currently on the list.

Process for checking

Before the individual begins work, all documents must be reviewed. [[Recruiting managers/HR/[other person] will write to candidates attending interviews for a post, suggesting that they bring the appropriate proof with them and outlining the entire list of approved papers]] OR [On their first day, new workers should be required to bring their proof documents to work and should not be permitted to begin work until this proof is documented.]

The following guidance must be followed by those responsible for making checks on employees' right to work in the UK.

  • You must have sight of the original document, so a photocopy provided by the worker isn't good enough.
  • You need to make sure that the document or documents you are being shown relate to the individual in question and check any restrictions on them such as expiry dates or restrictions on the type of work that can be performed.
  • You must satisfy yourself that documents are genuine and have not been tampered with. Check that dates of birth match across documents; that photos are of the worker in question and that details are consistent. If there are different names, check that there are reasons for this.
  • You must then take a copy, [keep it on the individual's personal file]/[send to HR for retention on the individual's personal file] and record when the check was made. The copy must be kept for the duration of the person's employment and for two years after the termination of their employment.

Limited right to work in the UK

Some employees will only be able to produce confirmation of a restricted right to work in the UK, such as if they are on a time-limited visa or work permit, or if their ability to work is subject to other limitations.

Details of such limitations must be documented, and safeguards must be taken to ensure that extra checks are performed at the appropriate time to protect [Company] from the risk of recruiting employees whose right to work in the UK has expired.

This policy [does not] form[s] part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Version: [1.0]

Issue date: [date]

Author: [name, job title]

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Right to work policy
right to work policy