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Proving your right to work in the UK
Starting a job in the UK requires confirming your right to work there. You can do this online or by providing documents to your employer. Remember:
- Documents must be valid, except for British/Irish passports.
- Only originals are valid, no photocopies.
If your document’s expiration date is near and you’ve applied for an extension, you can still prove your work eligibility. You might need another document based on your visa type, or your employer could use the Home Office Employer Checking Service (ECS).
Unsure about your eligibility to work in the UK? You can verify it easily.
If you spot any errors in your recorded immigration status via the Home Office ECS and the information is outdated, fill out a form to correct it. If you need help on notifying the Home Office about incorrect status, check GOV.UK for guidance.
Confirm the prerequisites for showcasing your eligibility right to work in the UK
How you validate your right to work depends on your immigration status, often called ‘leave’. Remember, a biometric residence card or permit is not acceptable as proof of work authorization..
For British or Irish Citizens:
You can demonstrate your work entitlement by presenting your British or Irish passport to your employer, regardless of its expiry. If you don’t possess a British or Irish passport, an alternative is to provide a valid passport from another country. This passport should have a stamp or sticker indicating your right of abode.
For those with pre-settled or settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme:
To validate your work eligibility, obtain a share code online. If you’ve already proven your work entitlement before July 1, 2021, your employer shouldn’t request another proof. They should only ask if all employees are being re-verified.
If you possess indefinite leave to enter or remain:
You can verify your work authorization by presenting your employer with either: A valid passport featuring a Home Office stamp or sticker indicating no time limit on your leave.
For individuals with an immigration status document:
You can provide your immigration status document to your employer. If you lack a passport or online share code, accompany this with another document. You might possess an immigration status document if you received indefinite leave to remain before 2013 and you are either:
A refugee Yet to obtain a biometric residence permit. Your immigration status document must include a residence permit sticker stating indefinite leave to remain. The additional document should feature your name and National Insurance number, and it must originate from the government or your previous employer. For instance, a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or a tax document such as a P45 would be acceptable.
For Commonwealth citizens holding the right of abode:
You could potentially obtain a share code online to demonstrate your work entitlement. If online proof isn’t feasible, you can present your valid passport to your employer. Ensure the passport features a Home Office sticker indicating your right of abode.
For asylum seekers:
Typically, individuals in the process of applying for asylum don’t possess work authorization. You can review your application registration card (ARC) from the Home Office; if it states ‘work permitted,’ you have the right to work. However, there might be restrictions, such as only being able to work in ‘shortage occupations’ labeled as ‘SOL’ on your ARC. You can check if your job is included in the shortage occupations list on GOV.UK.
Demonstrating Your Work Authorization:
To confirm your right to work, provide your employer with your ARC. Additionally, your employer must get in touch with the Home Office to verify your work eligibility. If you’re required to prove your suitability for the specific job you’re seeking, you should present either:
- Your ARC
- A distinct letter from the Home Office, specifying your authorization for the particular job role you’re applying for.
For individuals with limited leave to remain:
Limited leave to remain applies when you hold a visa with a specified timeframe, like a student, work, or family visa, or have refugee status.
To demonstrate your work eligibility, present your employer with:
- A valid passport featuring a Home Office stamp or sticker, indicating your permission to stay in the UK and work in the applied role.
- Your online share code.
If you’re uncertain about your specific leave type:
Talk to an adviser to get help understanding what type of leave you have.
When seeking an extension for your leave:
If you submitted your extension application before the previous leave expired, you can continue working during the application process, provided you had work authorization initially.
For those applying to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS):
When you apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office will issue you a Certificate of Application. This certificate permits you to work for 6 months while awaiting a decision on your status. The Certificate of Application could be sent to you via post, email, or an online version may be provided.
If you possess an online Certificate of Application, you can obtain an online share code to validate your work entitlement. If you received your Certificate of Application through post or email, display the certificate to your employer. Your employer should also contact the Home Office to verify your work authorization.
When seeking an extension for a different type of leave:
Obtaining a Share Code
You can request a share code through an online application. Once acquired, you can provide it to your employer, and it remains valid for 90 days. It’s important to note that a share code obtained for one purpose, such as proving your right to work, cannot be used for another reason, like demonstrating your right to rent. Apply for your share code on GOV.UK.
In case you lack a necessary document:
Examine if there’s an alternative means to establish your work entitlement. If not, you will need to initiate the process for obtaining a replacement document.
Replacing a British passport
If you’ve lost your British passport, you can get a new passport urgently on GOV.UK.
Renewing a Passport from a Non-UK Country:
If you possess the right of abode, consider obtaining a fresh certificate of entitlement to be placed in your new passport. Typically, you can secure a new passport by reaching out to your embassy. Your new passport might be necessary to validate your immigration status.
Replacing an immigration status document or an expired stamp in your passport
You should get a biometric residence permit.
In the event of a lost or stolen biometric residence permit or card:
You must seek a replacement within a 3-month window. Failing to do so within this timeframe could result in potential removal from the UK and a fine of up to £1,000. It’s essential to also promptly report the loss or theft of your biometric residence permit or card.
If your biometric residence permit or card is expiring
If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain, you can apply for a replacement biometric residence permit or card on GOV.UK.
If your limited leave to remain and biometric residence permit are both nearing expiration: Opt for applying to extend your leave rather than seeking a new biometric residence permit
In case you lack a National Insurance number:
Your employer might request it during the process of proving your right to work. You are eligible to obtain a National Insurance number if you possess the right to work share code in the UK and meet any of the following criteria:
- You’re seeking employment.
- You have a job offer and are about to commence work.
- You’re already engaged in employment.
If you’ve already got a National Insurance number but you’ve lost it, you can check how to find your National Insurance number on GOV.UK.
How to apply for a National Insurance number
Obtaining your National Insurance number can take around 16 weeks. If you haven’t received it yet, you can present your employer with an email or letter confirming your application for it.
In the scenario where your employer terminates your employment or rescinds a job offer:
If this action is related to your right to work and results in adverse consequences, it could potentially amount to discriminatory behavior. If your employer terminates your employment, it might constitute unfair dismissal. Should you believe you’ve been treated unjustly, you have the right to contest your employer’s decision.
Assessing the Fairness of Your Dismissal:
Your dismissal could potentially be categorized as unfair if your employer failed to treat you equitably, such as in instances where they:
- Claimed insufficient evidence of your work eligibility despite you presenting accurate documents.
- Did not allow sufficient time to obtain the necessary documents.
- Terminated your employment during an ongoing leave extension application.
- Declined to verify your share code online.
- Determining whether your dismissal qualifies as unfair involves considering additional factors, including your length of service with the employer.