Why a third of UK employers don’t check for illegal workers



A new study has revealed that over a third of UK employers don’t check whether their potential staff have the ‘right to work’ in the UK.

The study by SterlingBackcheck claims that only 58% of organisations conduct any background screening checks on new hires.

Many employers don’t carry out the background screening because of time and cost.

“Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working, so it’s their responsibility to conduct document checks and ensure that they only recruit people who have permission to work in the UK,” said Clare Hart, CEO of SterlingBackcheck. “The tight labour market makes it tempting for employers to look the other way but any business that fails to carry out these checks correctly risks a £20,000 civil penalty for each illegal worker, as well as damage to their brand and reputation. That’s a high price to pay, when you consider that a right to work check is so quick and affordable.”

The study also shows that rigorous employment background checks are most commonly undertaken by large organisations when recruiting executives, directors and managers.

At least 66% of employers say they conduct background screenings to check for CV fraud. “Usually this is to guard against job applicants who have embellished their experience to make themselves appear more employable,” said Hart. “However, recruiters should also conduct these checks to protect themselves against candidates who have forged their identity or immigration status.”


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