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Preventing illegal working

As an employer in Scotland you are legally required to prevent illegal working and must check a person’s eligibility to work in the United Kingdom (UK) before you employ them. 

When recruiting you may receive applications from people who are already in the UK on different types of visas. In certain circumstances it may be possible for them to change their visa.

Who has the right to work in Scotland

As an employer it is important that the person you hire has the legal right to work in the UK and the appropriate documentation and/or visa to prove their eligibility. It is a criminal offence to illegally employ a person who does not have the right to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

You must also take the necessary steps to obtain documentation verifying the person’s eligibility to work in the UK. You should retain this documentation as proof in your employee’s file.

When considering a person’s eligibility to live and work in the UK, immigration law places people into five basic categories:

  • British citizens
  • European Economic Area and Swiss nationals
  • Croatian nationals
  • Asyum seekers and refugees
  • All other nationalities

Each category has very different rights relating to living and working in the UK.

Sponsorship and recruitment

As an employer in Scotland who wishes to hire a migrant worker, you will need to apply for and obtain a sponsor licence to become a Home Office registered sponsor.

The Sponsorship Management System is an online portal where you can carry out most of the activities associated with being a sponsor, including requesting and issuing Certificates of Sponsorship.

To ensure you can recruit a migrant worker in a specific role, all the jobs you advertise must be done according to the relevant Code of Practice.

You will usually require to complete a Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) and ensure the role is at the appropriate skill and salary level for sponsorship.

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