Get Out Now! No, Call the Police!.

By Andrew Knorpel on 18 June 2015

Have you heard the one about the woman who refused to leave an employer’s premises for 1½ hours at the end of her interview?  According to the Daily Mail, that’s exactly what happened when she was told that she hadn’t got the job because she had forgotten to bring her passport.  We know this because the Greater Manchester Police tweeted about it.

Hopefully, most employers will not experience this kind of protesting job applicant.  But what should you do if someone has forgotten to bring their passport to their interview?

Leaving aside criminal sanctions for knowingly employing someone who does not have the right to work, every employer must ensure that every one of their employees has the right to live and work in the UK, failing which they will be liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000 unless they can make use of the “statutory excuse”.  This requires an employer to carry out certain documentary checks before the person starts employment.

The employer must –

• ask the individual for the relevant original documentation
• satisfy themselves that the individual is the person named in them
• keep a copy of the original document on file in a format that cannot be altered (such as scanned or photocopied)
• make a record of the date on which they made the check
• retain the copy document not just throughout the individual’s employment, but also for two years after the employment has ended

As asking for the relevant documents on the first day of employment is too late (because employment has already started by then) and you may not see the person between the interview and their start date, it is not unreasonable to ask them to bring their passport etc to their interview for you to verify their right to live and work.

If they forget, perhaps it’s best not to turn them down there and then …

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