Right-to-work documents are a must for all employers
In Baker v Abellio London Ltd, the Employment Tribunal held that an employee was fairly dismissed after failing to provide documentary evidence of his right of abode in the UK when asked by the employer.
Mr Baker, a Jamaican citizen with the right of abode in the UK, was asked to present his valid right-to-work documents by his employer. After realising his passport had expired, his employer lent him the money to renew this along with his endorsement evidencing his right to work in the UK.
He failed to renew his visa endorsement after being asked multiple times, and did not attend a meeting arranged by the employer to discuss the situation.
Mr Baker was subsequently fired after being unable to provide evidence of his right to work in the UK.
By having the right of abode in the UK, Mr Baker held indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, by failing to provide a valid visa endorsement to evidence this in accordance with the right-to-work guidance, the employer was within its rights to dismiss Mr Baker.
This does not just affect those with the right of abode, but will impact all non-EEA nationals who hold an inherent right to enter the UK without the need for a visa. This includes non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who do not apply for an EEA Family Permit prior to entering the UK, or fail to apply for a new visa on expiration of their EEA Family Permit or EEA Resident Permit.
This case also highlights the importance of human resource professionals carefully checking the right-to-work documents of employees to avoid falling foul of a potential £20,000 fine for employing illegal workers without a statutory excuse.