It is a criminal offence to employ someone who does not have permission to live and work in the UK. Employers may offer employment to Commonwealth Citizens and Foreign Nationals without a permanent right of residence (‘indefinite leave to enter or remain’) as if they were a British Citizen if they are:
• a Commonwealth Citizen in the UK as a working holiday-maker (a two-year visa given for Commonwealth Citizens between the ages of 17 and 30);
• a Commonwealth Citizen or Foreign National (excluding EEA Nationals) who have been granted permission to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of marriage (two-year visa or extension);
• an EEA National (including what used to be known as ‘A8’ Nationals;
• a student who can take employment up to a certain amount of hours a week in term-time or full-time during holidays;
• those granted two years’ leave to remain under Tier 1 (Post-Study Work);
• granted permission under Tier 2 to work with a company that has issued them with a Sponsorship Certificate; or
• asylum seekers (those waiting for a decision on their claim to refugee status) with an Application Registration Card endorsed ‘Employment Permitted’.
In order to avoid race discrimination, all checks must be performed in a non-discriminatory way. The UK Government has issued a Code of Practice on ‘Avoidance of race discrimination in recruitment practice while seeking to prevent illegal working’.
The main points are:
• Failure to follow the Code may be considered by an Employment Tribunal.
• All job selections should be based on suitability for the post.
• Make no assumptions based on colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, or the length of time someone has been in the UK.