A lot of the coverage about the ongoing Brexit negotiations regards the rights of workers to be in the UK. The way this topic is discussed, you’d get the impression that this is something new. That’s’ actually not the case, and employers are already running lots of checks before taking someone on. Some of these checks are compulsory, and others, like DBS are optional. There is a lot of confusion though about how all the checks work now, and will do in the future.
Right to Work – Nationality
In essence, the right to work checks are a nationality check. Employers risk very high fines if they are caught with workers who are either in the UK illegally, or who are in the UK legally, but on something like a tourist visa which bans them from work. Employers therefore check up on people at the application stage, and commonly ask people to bring their passports with them to interviews. A British or EU passport at presents automatically gives someone the right to live and work in the UK. Someone from outside the EU might have the right to work too. Checks will have to be made on the stamps in their passport, and what type of visa they have. There are no exceptions to this checking process in terms of industry, or type of job. Most employers have a blanket policy of checking everyone, and most will keep a copy of your passport for their records too.
A DBS – or Disclosure and Barring Service – check is something different. The confusion arises because some employers do multiple checks at the same time, and applicants might be asked for their passport as part of the DBS check too. A Disclosure check is a criminal records check.
Criminal records checks are carried out mainly on people who are in occupations working with children, disabled adults or patients in hospital. These sorts of checks are not about looking at your nationality and establishing whether you’re in the country illegally. A criminal records check does however investigate your criminal record, if you have one. Any information which the police thinks is relevant will be printed on the DBS form. It’s then up to your employer whether to go ahead and give you the job or not.
Other Types of Checks
These are the two main sorts of checks which you might come across when applying for a job, but there are many others. If you’re working in financial services, you might be asked to consent to a credit check to make sure you’re not in serious debt which could lead to a fraud risk. Many employers realise that lots of people tell little fibs or downright lies on their CV, so might fact-check things like qualifications or work experience before making a job offer. For some government or security jobs, there is more intensive vetting which involves looking into not only the applicant’s background, but that of their family too.