The situation will become more complicated when changes come into force in November but the starting point for any employer is the same.
1) Carry out a right to work check
No matter what the nationality of a student it is important that employers carry out a proper right to work check and keep copies of the documents they have seen.
A common misconception seems to be that if someone has a National Insurance number they are allowed to work in the UK but this is not the case. The only documents an employer should accept as evidence of the right to work are a passport and a biometric residence card. These will contain details of any restrictions on a person's right to work.
Where an individual says their passport or biometric card are with the Home Office there are particular steps that an employer can and must take to protect themselves.
2) Know term dates
Where a non EU national student has a right to work the number of hours they can work during term time will be limited but they can work full time outside of their normal term time.
Employers need to make sure that they are aware of the term dates and should ask any prospective student employees to provide a letter from their University or College which confirms the exact dates of the student's course. It is also possible to rely on a copy of the University or College's published timetable but employers should be aware that a particular student's course may not match the dates published online. The information provided must be kept on file with the employee's right to work documentation.
3) Make sure everyone is aware of the restrictions
If a non EU national student's right to work is restricted employers need to make sure that whoever is responsible for allocating shifts is aware of this. A common situation where employers breached the legislation is where the person allocating shifts has used a part time non EU national student to fill a shortage due to illness or annual leave. If this takes the student over their permitted hours of work then the employer will be liable to enforcement action.
If you have any questions about whether a student has the right to work or the documentation you need to obtain from them to ensure you comply with right to work legislation, please contact us. We specialise in helping employers establish robust procedures for checking the right to work and carrying out audits to ensure systems are compliant.