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Visas & Immigration 

What is a right to work check?

A right to work check is a Home Office process that all employers are required to carry out for all individuals to establish that each employee or casual worker has the right to work in the UK before they start their employment.

As an employer, the University is required to operate within the UK government's rules on working in the UK. This means we are legally required to:

• check that everyone working or carrying out unpaid voluntary work duties for the University has the appropriate right to work in the UK

• comply with the terms of any immigration visas held by our employees and workers

• retain suitable evidence of our checks so we can prove staff are working legally

Why is it important?

Failing to uphold this duty could be costly and damaging to the University's reputation. It could also disqualify the University from tendering for work and sponsoring students and staff from outside the UK. 

The University has a legal responsibility to physically check all original documents presented to us as proof of right to work in UK.

We are subject to regular UKVI audits on this documentation and therefore it is critical that all our right to work paperwork is in order and UKVI compliant.

What is the right to work process?

Right to work checks at the University are carried out by a member of the HR Services team.

The check must be completed before an individual can commence any paid work or unpaid voluntary work duties with the University to ensure compliance with UKVI legislation. 

Normally the check would involve a member of the HR team meeting the individual in person on campus and taking relevant copies of their original right to work documents (passport, visa or share code if applicable) or alternatively holding a video call with the individual with the HR member of staff in receipt of the original documents and they can then assess and verify the original documents online and carry out the required check.

Temporary adjustments to the right to work checks due to Covid 19 - ENDS 20 JUNE 2021

In March 2020 due to Covid 19 in line with Home Office guidelines we temporarily adjusted the way we carried out the right to work checks to online checks only and used scanned documents. The Home Office has advised this temporary adjustment ends 20 June 2021.

Retrospective Checks

All new starts checked under the Covid 19 adjusted right to work check were advised that they would be subject to a future in person retrospective check. The Home Office has now confirmed that this will not be required.

Right to Work Check Process from 21 June 2021

We will revert to the original rules and complete the right to work check either by:


  1. Carrying out a manual check which can take place either in person on campus or via video link to check original documents but in either case the HR staff member must be in possession of an individual’s original documents. We can no longer inspect and verify scanned copies via video link.

In the current climate individuals may choose to demonstrate their right to work by couriering their original documents to the HR Services team, in advance of their RTW appointment and then HR will conduct the required check via video link and return the original document to the individual via a recorded postal service.  Alternatively, an in-person campus appointment can be made.


2. Checking an individual’s right to work check via the online new UKVI share code system – to use this service the individual must first obtain a right to work share code from the online service here and then provide their share code to the employer. The employer can then check the individual’s status via the governments online the right to work service.  This is a voluntary service for employers and individuals, to be able to use the government online share code service the individual must have confirmed online immigration status (settled or pre-settled status) or applied for a visa and used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to scan their identity document on your phone.

Full step by step details on the right to work check processes outlined above and how to book a right to work appointment can be found HERE

The Home Office has acknowledged due to the continued impact of Covid -19 that some individuals may have specific circumstances which mean they may not have an original document available. 

Please be assured that the HR Services team will assess any exceptional circumstances and work closely with the individual and hiring manager to support and resolve this type of situation, whilst still ensuring we are compliant with the Home Office Employers Code of Conduct.  


If you have any questions, please call the HR Services team on 0131 455 3344 or email your question and/or request a call back to: humanresources@napier.ac.uk

Please note that due to the UK leaving the European Union new immigration rules apply with effect 1 January 2021.

For more information and guidance on all the new rules, please see the links below