Employing migrant workers


Documents that are not acceptable under the new requirements

Q33 - Are there any other documents, like the Standard Acknowledgement Letter (SAL), or the Immigration Service 96W (IS96W) letter, which have been removed as part of the statutory defence since 1 May 2004?

As well as the Standard Acknowledgement Letter (SAL) and the Immigration Service 96W (IS96W) no longer being acceptable after 1 May 2004. The following documents, which you may have checked previously to establish a statutory defence, have also been removed from the document lists:
  • a letter issued by the Home Office stating the holder is a British citizen;
  • a passport describing the holder as a British Dependant Territories Citizen and which states that the holder has a connection with Gibraltar;
  • a short birth certificate issued in the United Kingdom which does not contain details of at least one of the holder's parents; and
  • a card or certificate issued by the Inland Revenue under the Construction Industry Scheme.
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Q34 - Many British citizens do not have a passport or a long birth certificate, so why did the Government remove the short birth certificate as acceptable evidence under section 8?

The withdrawal of the short birth certificate was introduced as part of wider initiatives by the Home Office to combat fraud and to prevent identity theft. Since 1 May 2004, a short birth certificate issued in the UK will no longer establish part of an employer's defence under section 8, and from 4 May 2004, anyone born on or after 1 January 1983, who applies for a UK passport for the first time, will have to provide their full birth certificate. Further details on this change in policy are available from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

The short birth certificate has been withdrawn as a document acceptable as evidence under section 8 because it is a document that has proved vulnerable to forgery. A person born in the UK could enter fictitious details about their parents, or a person could attempt to work here illegally by making a false statement about themselves. These types of false representation could be prevented by the requirement for a long birth certificate and would ultimately be prevented by the introduction of an ID card with biometric information.

A long birth certificate also gives valuable background information which is absent from the short birth certificate. Not only does it give the names of the parents, but also where they were born, their occupation at the time of the birth, their address at the time of the birth and the place where the child was born. All this information can be used to verify personal details if necessary.

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Q35 - Won't the withdrawal of the short birth certificate adversely affect many British citizens?

Section 8 can provide an employer with a statutory defence from conviction if they check and record certain specified documents belonging to job applicants. Although the requirement to carry out identity checks on job applicants is not mandatory, those employers who do wish to obtain a defence under section 8 must make this check before a person starts working for them.

The Government does not accept that the changes to section 8 will impact substantially on the majority of British citizens who wish to prove their entitlement to work. Analysis suggests that, of the 47 million UK passports currently in circulation, approximately 32 million are held by people of working age. Assuming that these passport holders will account for the vast majority of job changes that take place in the UK every year, the option of checking and recording just one document will remain in most cases.

Those British citizens who do not hold a passport will either have, or be entitled to apply for a permanent National Insurance Number (NINO), as nearly all residents in the UK are automatically given a small plastic card with their NINO as they approach age 16. To complete the combination of documents from List 2, if an individual does not have a copy of their long birth certificate, a replacement birth certificate may be obtained for a fee from the local registrar in the district where they were born, or alternatively from;

General Register Office (England and Wales)
Smedley Hydro
Trafalgar Road

General Register Office (N. Ireland)
Oxford House
49 -55 Chichester Street

General Register Office (Scotland)
New Register House

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Q36 - Can an adopted person, who is a British citizen and who does not have a long birth certificate, prove their eligibility to work in the UK with their adoption certificate?

Adoption certificates cannot be used in place of long birth certificates, as they are not listed in the legislation as acceptable for the purpose of providing a defence under section 8. An adoption certificate can only be accepted to explain a discrepancy between names, or other personal details shown on two documents and shown as a combination of documents from List 2. However, an adopted person can obtain a copy of their long birth certificate. Further information on how to do this is available from the General Register Office.

Furthermore, a British citizen who has been adopted, but who does not have a copy of their birth certificate, can still obtain a passport. This would provide them with a single document from List 1 that would demonstrate their legal entitlement to work in the UK.

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Q37 - What if I check other documents which establish evidence of someone's identity?

You must only check the documents specified in List 1 and List 2 to establish a statutory defence. The following documents have never been acceptable as proof of a person's right to work in the United Kingdom, and should not form any part of your section 8 checks:
  • a driving licence issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; or
  • a temporary National Insurance Number beginning with TN, or any number which ends with the letters from E to Z inclusive; or
  • an adoption certificate; or
  • a bill issued by a financial institution, or a utility company.
You may also see some passports which contain the word 'British' but which are not acceptable (unless it contains a certificate of entitlement or a relevant endorsement; for an example see Q.30). These are:
  • a British Visitor's Passport; or
  • a passport that describes the holder as:
    • a British National (Overseas);
    • a British Dependant Territories Citizen;
    • a British Overseas Territories citizen;
    • a British Overseas citizen;
    • a British subject; or
    • a British protected person.
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