Who has the right to work in the UK?

Check who has an automatic right to work in the UK. As an employer, you must be able to prove that everyone you employ has the right to work in the UK and that you have carried out appropriate checks.

The following nationalities have an automatic right to work in the UK without a work permit or visa. This means that you only need to check their documents before they start work, and as long as you have a certified copy of their original documents on file, you won't need to check again. 

  • British citizens
  • European Economic Area (EEA) citizens
  • Swiss nationals

EEA countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

Post-Brexit checks: Following the UK's departure from the EU, right to work checks will continue in the same way until 30 June 2021 for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. You won't need to make any additional checks for existing employees after this date - but the way you check right to work for new employees from the EEA will change. Watch this space for more info.
All other nationalities will require valid work permits/visas in order to work in the UK legally. You will need to see the original Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which provides evidence of the holder’s immigration status in the UK. These are issued to non-EEA nationals and their dependants and contain display a photo and biographical information on the face of the document and details of their right to work, plus any restrictions or expiry dates. As the employer, you must ensure that you carry out follow-up Right to Work checks before the expiry date. 
Biometric Residence Permit BRP example image