Pre-employment checks

Immigration statuses, DBS checks and references

All about pre-employment, including all the safety checks and getting references. 

Any offer of employment that is made should be subject to satisfactory checks of the following: 

Immigration status 

Employers are required by law to check that employees have the immigration status needed to work in the UK. This requirement must be applied to all employees, not only those who have lived or were born outside the UK. Guidance about the acceptable documents that potential employees can give as evidence of eligibility to work in the UK can be found on the Home Office website. 

Disclosure and Barring status 

Employees who will be working with children will, in most cases, need to be checked under a criminal record check system. This may be through the Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS), Access NI, or Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG), depending on where you live. This makes sure an employee doesn’t have criminal convictions, cautions or any other history that makes them unsuitable for the role. Details about the level of check required available for a role, and how to access them , can be found on the DBS website if you’re in England and Wales, the Access NI website if you’re in Northern Ireland or the PVG website if you’re in Scotland. 


References should be taken up for new employees before they begin work. It’s really recommended that these are work references wherever possible, including from the most recent employer, unless there’s a good reason why this isn’t an option. It’s strongly advisable to check references closely and compare them to information provided on the candidate’s application form. If you’re not completely satisfied with the reference, ask follow-up questions, either in writing or by speaking to them. It’s for you, as the employer, to decide if you think the reference is satisfactory or not, but act reasonably.