Here at the Co-op, we take our responsibilities to prevent illegal working seriously. We don’t make any assumptions about who can and who can’t work in the UK, so we ask every person we employ to give us evidence that they’re allowed to work in the UK and to do the work that we’re offering.

If you’re applying for a job with us, you’ll be asked to provide these documents before you start working with us.

If you’re already a colleague and you have temporary permission to work in the UK, then we’ll ask you to give us further documents that show your continued right to work before your current permission expires.

There’s some serious consequences for Co-op and our managers if we don’t get these checks right. We face a £20,000 fine if we employ an illegal worker and haven’t checked the documents required by the Home Office. It’s also a criminal offence for our managers if they knowingly employ an illegal worker. That could result in up to 5 years in prison and an unlimited fine for them. So, it’s important for everyone that we get this right.

Crucial bits

Pre-employment checks

If you’re invited to an interview with us, you’ll need to either bring your right to work documents with you or, if you only hold digital proof of your immigration status in the UK, provide us with your date of birth and your share code so that we can check this electronically.

There’s a list of the documents that we’ll accept in the Appendix. This list is issued by the Home Office and are the only documents that we can accept. We know it’s possible that you’ve got the right to work for us but haven’t got these documents, but we won’t be able to offer you a job unless we’ve seen documents from this list.

If you do not have a share code so we can check your right to work online, then you must bring the original documents with you. The manager holding the interview will scan the documents using Co-op’s Right to Work App, this means all colleagues right to work proof will be safely stored.

International Students from outside the UK or Ireland

If you’re a student from outside the UK or Ireland, and have permission to work, you’ll also need to give us details of your term time and vacation dates. This should cover the whole length of your course or, if this isn’t possible, you’ll need to give this to us every year. This is to ensure we comply with any conditions placed on your right to work.

You’ll need to give us either:

  • A printout from your school, college or university’s website or other material published by them that sets out the term time dates for your course
  • A copy of a letter or email addressed to you from your school, college or university confirming the term time dates for your course
  • A letter addressed to the Co-op from your school, college or university confirming the term time dates for your course

Follow-up checks

If you’ve given us a document from List B in the Appendix that shows that you have temporary permission to work in the UK, then your manager will do a follow-up check before your current permission to work expires. We’ll contact you before the expiry date on your documents to talk to you about this. There’s more information in the Follow-Up Checks Process. There’s more information in the Follow-Up Checks Process

Click here for more information on the Right to Work App.

Making an application, appeal or administrative review to the Home Office

If you intend to submit a Home Office application or an appeal or an administrative review, we’d encourage you to do this in plenty of time before your current permission to work in the UK expires. Your application must be made before the expiry date of your current permission to work.

If you’ve made an application, appeal or administrative review, but you haven’t received a decision from the Home Office, you must show your manager that you’ve done this before the expiry of your current documents. You’ll need to give us one of the following;

  • A copy of your application, appeal or administrative review and a proof of date of postage/online receipt
  • A dated confirmation letter/online acknowledgement from the Home Office that your application, appeal or administrative review has been submitted
  • A Home Office or appeal tribunal reference number and a proof of date of postage/online receipt

When you’ve given your manager this document, they’ll contact the Home Office to confirm. Just so it’s clear, your continued employment with Co-op will be dependent upon us receiving a Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office, which confirms your right to work.

  • Appendix – Lists of acceptable documents for right to work checks
  • Eligibility to work in the UK – process for hiring managers
  • Follow up checks process