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YOU ARE HERE: Skip Navigation LinksEdinburgh Napier Staff Intranet > Service Depts > Human Resources > Recruitment > Visas & Immigration > How to Carry Out a Right to Work Check

What is a Right to Work (RTW) Check? 

The right work check is a Home Office and statutory requirement that all employers must undertake to prevent illegal working.

When is a Right to Work Check required?

As an employer, the University is required to operate within the UK government's rules on working in the UK. 

This means we are required to check that everyone working for the University has the appropriate right to work in the UK. If an individual is to be paid by the University then there is a requirement for a right to work check to be carried out to establish a statutory excuse. This is an employer’s defence against a civil penalty. In order to establish a statutory excuse against a civil penalty in the event that an employee is found to be working illegally, employers must complete a RTW check in one of the following ways before an individual starts work:

  • a manual right to work check
  • a right to work check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)
  • a Home Office online right to work check

This check also ensures that we are complying with the terms of any visas held by our employees and workers and retain suitable evidence of all our RTW checks so we can prove staff are working legally.

Please note:

  • External academics (sitting on interview panels/academic promotion panels and carrying out external examinations) - If the external academic is being paid by the University for work of this type, then there is a requirement for a right to work check to be carried out prior to work being carried out/interview panel date.
  • Volunteering/voluntary work   If an individual is being paid/rewarded for their voluntary work by the University then even if it’s for a day as its being paid they should have their right to work checked. Any query or concern please contact the HR Services Team.
  • Associates - If individuals (Associates) are not doing work for the University and are not being paid by the University, then there would be no need to carry out a right to work check. Where Associates have obtained a visa which allows them to undertake certain permitted activities in the UK (e.g a Visitor visa), a document check will be required in advance of the visit activities starting. Given this definition determines if a RTW check required – HR Services team will assess the information on the associate request form and ask for clarification if needed. If this is not clear and the manager has not providing sufficient information for accurate assessment, further information will be requested prior to actioning the request. Associates are only put on the to the HR system so they can access IS systems for a specific purposes  (this is due to our IS system set up) and should not as a rule be doing any paid work for the University.

How to carry out a Right to Work Check 

The right to work check must be completed before employment commences to ensure workers are legally allowed to do the work in question for the University. In some circumstances due to the conditions of an individual’s visa, a follow up check may be required.  

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

Conducting a manual right to work check

To complete a manual right to work check we are legally required to carry out the following 3 steps listed below.


A member of the HR team must check an individual’s original right to work document's validity in the presence of the holder. Original documents from either List A or List B of Acceptable Documents at Annex A on the Right to work checklist - GOV.UK  must be provided.


HR must check documents are genuine and the person presenting them is the prospective employee and rightful holder and the document allows them to do the type of work we are offering and retain a clear copy and record the date the check was carried out.


The manual check/right to work appointment can either be carried out as a face-to-face in person check or with the individual via a video call. Please note for both options the HR member of staff must be in receipt of the individual’s original documents.

We will check that:

1. photographs and dates of birth are consistent across documents and with the person’s appearance in order to detect impersonation.

2. expiry dates for permission to be in the UK have not passed.

3. any work restrictions to determine if they are allowed to do the type of work on offer (for students who have limited permission to work during term-times, you must also obtain, copy and retain details of their academic term and vacation times covering the duration of their period of study in the UK for which they will be employed);

4. the documents are genuine, have not been tampered with and belong to the holder; and

5. the reasons for any difference in names across documents can be explained by providing evidence (e.g., original marriage certificate, divorce decree absolute, deed poll). These supporting documents must also be photocopied, and a copy retained.


HR will retain copies of original versions of one or more acceptable documents and ensure they are scanned and retained securely and electronically on an employee’s file for the duration of their employment and thereafter will be retained in line with our Retention Schedules. 

We will copy and retain copies of:

1. Passports: any page with the document expiry date, the holder’s nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details, photograph and any page containing information indicating the holder has an entitlement to enter or remain in the UK (visa or entry stamp) and undertake the work in question (the front cover no longer has to be copied).

2. All other documents: the document in full, including both sides of a Biometric  Residence Permit, Application Registration Card and a Residence Card (biometric format).


Conducting an online right to work check using Identity Document Validation Technology (IDVT) via the services of an Identity Service Provider (IDSP)

This type of digital RTW check is available for holders of valid British and Irish passports and Irish passport cards.

How does this check work?

We send a link to the individual to complete the online check with Yoti (IDSP) using their smartphone or PC. The individual is guided through the check, which involves taking real time scans of their passport photo page and a selfie and these are then checked using the IDVT.

A RTW check file is generated for the university and a member of the HR Services and Resourcing team completes a brief video call with the individual to ensure that the photograph and biographic details (for example, date of birth) on the output from the IDVT check are consistent with the individual presenting themselves for work (i.e. the information provided by the check relates to the individual and they are not an imposter). A copy of the check is retained on the staff member's file.​

Conducting an online right to work check

The government introduced an online right to work check service which employers can use to check an individual’s right to work in the UK. 

Currently, the online checking service supports checks in respect of those who hold:

  • a biometric residence permit (BRP);
  • a biometric residence card (BRC); or
  • status issued under the EU Settlement Scheme (alternatively, these individuals continue to be able to demonstrate their right to work by presenting their EU passport or ID card until the end of the EU-Exit grace period on 30 June 2021); or
  • status issued under the points-based immigration system; or
  • British National Overseas (BNO) visa; or
  • Frontier workers permit (FWP)


From 6 April 2022, BRP/BRC/FWP holders are required to prove their immigration status using the Gov.uk online checking service. This replaced checks on visa cards for these individuals.​


How does the online right to work service work?


The system works on the basis of the individual first viewing their own Home Office right to work record, they then share this information with a member of the HR team by providing a ‘share code’ which when entered along the individual’s date of birth, enables the employer (HR Services team) to access the record via the employer part of the service called View a job applicant's right to work details - GOV.UK . This authorisation represents an important safeguard and means employers will only view an individual’s information having received their consent and the share code allowing their access.

The share code will be valid for 90 days, after which a new code will be required in order to conduct an online check. It is not sufficient for the employer to only view the information provided to the prospective employee, when they view their profile using the migrant part of the Home Office online right to work checking service.  The employer will not establish a statutory excuse by viewing the migrant part of the service only.


The HR staff member carrying out the online check must check that any photograph on the online right to work check is a true likeness to the individual presenting themselves for work and will also check the working permissions listed to ensure that this is in line with the work offered. This is normally completed via video call.


HR will retain a clear copy of the response provided by the online right to work check. A copy of this will be retained electronically on the worker's file for the duration of their employment and thereafter in line with our retention policy.  

The Home Office has an audit record of online checks conducted by employers using the service.


The government online right to work checking service sets out what information you will need. 


It will not be possible to conduct an online right to work check in all circumstances, as not all individuals will have an immigration status that can be checked online. In circumstances in which an online check is not possible, a manual right to work check will be required. 

To Book

To arrange a RTW check, please emailhumanresources@napier.ac.uk  add in the email title ‘Request for Right to Work Check’ or call 0131 455 3344 to speak to a member of the HR Services Team, who will be happy to make the necessary arrangements.