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Right to work documents

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 requires the University of Exeter to verify new employee’s right to work in the UK by checking, copying and storing certain documents before their employment begins.

It is a criminal offence to knowingly employ illegal migrant workers. If the following checks are not completed, the University risks breaking the law, having to pay a civil penalty and having its sponsor licence, suspended or revoked.

To avoid discrimination, assumptions must not be made about an individual’s right to work or immigration status. Document checks should be undertaken for ALL new employees.

If the post is degree level or above and the person specification requires the applicant to hold a particular qualification i.e. degree or PhD, the applicant will be requested via their invitation to interview to provide evidence.

This will confirm that the applicant has the required qualifications. If a visa is required, this will also prevent the applicant from having to pay to have the documents certified and sent via courier, which in turn will prevent delays in the recruitment and visa application process.

Please note that the documents that the applicant has or hasn’t presented at interview should not affect your decision on the candidate’s suitability for the role.

Obtain the original documents and photocopies from the applicant:

  • Assure the applicant that all documents retained will be stored securely;
  • Check that the original documents are genuine and that they represent the person presenting them;
  • Check that you have photocopies of each of the original documents presented;
  • Use the stamp provided or write the following on each photocopy: “I certify that this is a true copy of the original document”
  • You must then print your name, sign and date all photocopied pages.


Photos of documents are only acceptable when a University member of staff (a member of the recruiting panel for example) has taken the photo in the presence of the document holder to confirm that the document is genuine and a true likeness of the individual presenting the document.

  • make sure the photo image is clear and not obscured; remove passports from document holders for example
  • for passports, take a photo of any page with the expiry date and applicant’s details (for example nationality, date of birth and photograph) including any UK work/study visas
  • for biometric residence permits and residence cards (biometric format), take a photo of both sides
  • for all other documents you must make a complete photo
  • The writing on the photo must be legible and the facial image clearly visible

To certify a photo:

  • Attach photo to email
  • Email Subject: RTW Photo – Insert NAME of applicant
  • Confirm via email:
  • “I certify that this is a true copy of the original and the photograph was taken by me on DATE”
  • Insert email signature
  • Email : /

From 1 October 2022 we are required to conduct RTW checks under the original Home Office rules which mean face to face checks will resume. For visa holders (Skilled Workers, Global Talent, EU Settlement Scheme, Students, Indefinite Leave to Remain etc), we already use the Home Office online checking service and can continue to verify these checks virtually. For non-visa holders, we are in the process of procuring an Identity Service Provider (IDSP) and will be able to use identity document validation technology (IDVT) for holders of valid British and Irish passports and passport cards only.  Once we have the provider in place, we will be able to verify these checks virtually. 

Interim Arrangements for all (prior to provider being in place) and ongoing arrangements for new starters that do not fall into the categories above

In-person RTW checks must happen before an individual’s first day of work so we need to ensure people come onto campus or meet with a UoE employee prior to their start date, or at worst before their start time on their first day. We are aware some people are going to be working remotely but we will need them to meet with a UoE employee somehow for that verification process.  Please discuss with your recruiter if there are any new starters where you think this will not be possible.

It is possible for new joiners to book a slot with our HR Reception desk, (Northcote House, Streatham campus) to have their RTW checked.  Individuals can do this by clicking on the below link.

Reiterate the reason why we require right to work documentation and/or qualifications (see above);

Inform the applicant that any offer of employment is subject to satisfactory right to work document checks and will be requested prior to employment.

If for any reason the applicant doesn’t have the original copies of qualifications i.e. because they are overseas. It is fine to accept photocopies at interview stage. If they are the successful applicant the Employee Services Team will request to see originals or certified copies.

If time allows and you have access to a photocopier, please take colour copies or photographs of all relevant documents. This will prevent delays in the recruitment and if applicable, visa application process.

  • Passports – make a clear copy – the photo image must be clear, if necessary adjust the brightness. Copy any page with the document expiry date, the holders nationality, date of birth, signature, leave expiry date, biometric details, photograph and any page containing information indicating the holder has entitlement to enter or remain in the UK.

  • Biometric Residence Permits – make a clear copy – the photo image must be clear, if necessary adjust the brightness. Copy both sides of the biometric card.

  • All other documents – i.e. certificate of application, letters from the Home Office copy the document in full.

The list of acceptable documents to confirm right to work can be found on the University website. Applicants are provided with this information prior to interview. The Employee Services Team and International Employment Officer will check that the documents provided are acceptable.

Please inform the recruiting manager/administrator, who should in turn report this to the Employee Services Team for further investigation. If they are the successful applicant, they will be requested to present their documents again for verification.

If we are provided with a genuine document which does not belong to the individual presenting it, this should be reported to the International Employment Officer who will report this to the UK Visa and Immigration Agency via the Sponsorship and Employers Helpline.

Following interview, the right to work documents for each applicant must be passed to the recruiting manager/administrator;

The paperwork for the successful applicant only should be scanned and emailed to the Employee Services Team, please include the vacancy reference number in the subject field, and ensure that the quality of the scanned image is clear;

The paperwork for the unsuccessful applicants should be shredded or placed in confidential waste bins. You may wish to retain the documents for a short period of time, until the successful applicant has confirmed acceptance. If you do this, please ensure the documents are stored securely in a lockable drawer/cabinet.

  • Whether the documents presented are acceptable to confirm right to work;
  • Expiry dates for permission to be in the UK have not passed;
  • Identify any work restrictions;
  • Reasons for different names across documents.