In order to maintain high levels of safety and legal regulation, the industry must monitor the legitimacy of its workforce.
The following procedures and checks should be in place to monitor the workforce:
- There should be a process in place to check the legitimacy of the workforce either before arrival on site or upon arrival, with spot checks as necessary, during the course of the project;
- Site managers should obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents such as passport, or visa document;
- The site manager should also check the document’s validity in the presence of the holder;
- A clear copy of these documents should be produced with the date noted.
The best (principal) contractors will send either individual pre-contract questionnaires to their subcontractors or a declaration pro forma, covering the whole of their workforce as it applies to a particular site. Where a pre-contract questionnaire is sent, the subcontractor would be asked to complete one for each of its employees that will be working on the principal contractor site.
Where a declaration pro forma is sent, the subcontractor would be asked to sign this to say that they have undertaken a bona fides process as outlined in the Home Office guide. Note that a ‘bona fides’ process means that the employer has viewed the employee’s passport or visa document or other acceptable document. The questionnaire would often ask the copies to be provided as part of the response. In the case of a declaration pro forma, this would not normally be a requirement.
(Please note that checking the validity of CSCS cards is not a bona fide method of checking whether employees can legally work in the UK – it is not one of the methods approved in the Home Office guide. In addition, making a record for checking someone’s National Insurance number (in itself) is also not one of the approved methods.)
The completed questionnaires and copies of relevant documents would normally be held confidentially at the principal contractors head or regional office.
On larger sites with longer duration, principal contractors should check that the information they hold is still current and occasional audits would be appropriate. Also on larger sites, best practice would be to carry out spot checks to ensure that everyone on site has been correctly checked.
Please use the link below to view and download the The Home Office’s guide: “An employer’s guide to right to work checks”.
Home Office. (2015). Right to work checks: an employer's guide