Frequently Asked Questions about employment for BN(O) visa holders
WHAT ARE THE MAIN TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT STATUS?
There are 3 main types of employment status. These are workers, employees, and self-employed/contractors.
‘Worker’ is a broad term which covers employees and other people who have a contract to do work or provide services themselves in return for a reward (usually money).
The category ‘worker’ includes those who work on a series of short-term engagements where their employer doesn’t have to offer them work and they don’t have to accept any work offered. The work can take the form of arrangements described as ‘‘casual’, ‘bank’, ‘freelance’, ‘zero hours’ or ‘as required’
An employee is a worker who works under an employment contract. This is often seen as a more desirable way of working, as employees have more employment rights and usually have a more long-term relationship with their employer.
Self-employed and contractor
A person is self-employed if they run their business for themselves and take responsibility for its success or failure. Self-employed workers do not have income tax and National Insurance deducted by the person/people who pay them. They do not have the same employment rights and responsibilities as employees.
WHAT EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS ARE WORKERS ENTITLED TO?
Workers are entitled to certain employment rights, including:
- Getting the national Minimum Wage
- Protection against unlawful deductions from wages
- The statutory minimum level of paid holiday
- The statutory minimum length of rest breaks
- To not work more than 48 hours on average in a week or to opt out of this right if you choose
- Protection against unlawful discrimination
- Protection for whistleblowing – when reporting wrongdoing in a workplace
- To not be treated less favourably if you work part-time
Workers may also be entitled to:
- Statutory Sick pay
- Statutory Maternity Pay
- Statutory Paternity Pay
- Statutory Adoption Pay
- Shared Parental Pay
WHAT EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS ARE EMPLOYEES ENTITLED TO?
All employees are workers, but an employee has extra employment rights and responsibilities that do not apply to workers who are not employees.
These rights include all of the rights workers have and:
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay (workers only get pay, not leave)
- minimum notice periods if their employment will be ending, for example if an employer is dismissing them
- protection against unfair dismissal
- the right to request flexible working
- time off for emergencies
- Statutory Redundancy Pay
Some of these rights require a minimum length of continuous employment before an employee qualifies for them. An employment contract may state how long this qualification period is.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EMPLOYMENT STATUS AND EMPLOYMENT RIGHTS?
More information can be found on the GOV.UK website, via the following link: Employment status: Worker – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
WHAT TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT MIGHT I BE OFFERED AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN?
Employees can have many different types of employment contract. The main contracts include fixed term, permanent and zero hours.
Permanent contracts may be on a full or part time basis and will be for an indefinite period.
Fixed term contracts may also be part or full time but will only last for a certain length of time. The length of time should be set in advance and would normally end when a specific task is completed, or a specific event takes place. For example, to cover maternity leave.
Zero-hours contracts are also known as casual contracts. Zero-hours contracts are usually for ‘piece work’ or ‘on call’ work. Zero-hours workers are entitled to statutory annual leave and the National Minimum Wage in the same way as regular workers.
More information about employment contracts can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/contract-types-and-employer-responsibilities
HOW MANY HOURS PER WEEK WOULD BE A STANDARD FULL-TIME WEEK?
This will vary from one organisation to another, but ‘full time’ would normally be between 37 and 40 hours per week.
WHAT DOES HYBRID WORKING MEAN?
Hybrid working is a type of flexible working where an employee splits their time between:
- the workplace
- working remotely
For example, a worker may spend 2 days a week working in the office and the other 3 days working from home or a local co-working space.
WHERE CAN I FIND OUT HOW MUCH STATUTORY PAYMENTS ARE?
More information can be found on the GOV.UK website, via the following link:
WHAT IS NATIONAL INSURANCE (NI) NUMBER?
National Insurance number make sure National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against the right name only. It is made up of letters and numbers and never changes. People can look for and start work without a National Insurance number if they can prove they can work in the UK.
Having a National Insurance number is not part of mandatory Right to Work checks, and the possession of a National Insurance number does not prove that an individual has a right to work.
WHAT CAN YOU DO IF THERE IS DISCRIMINATION IN THE WORK?
Organisations and businesses have a legal duty to treat everyone fairly in the workplace and in the way they recruit people for jobs. It is illegal to discriminate against anyone applying for a job or in the workplace on the basis of sex and gender reassignment, race, religion, being married or in a civil partnership, disability, age, sexual orientation or if they are pregnant. If you think you have been unfairly discriminated against, you can get further advice and support from the Equality Advisory Service: https://www.equalityadvisoryservice.com
WHERE CAN I GET CAREERS ADVICE?
If you are looking for careers advice, then there are a variety of online support available. Online resources include:
- The National Careers Service – https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/
- Glassdoor – https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/index.htm
- UCAS – https://www.ucas.com/careers-advice
- LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com
Advice may also be available from recruitment agencies and via online job posting boards.
WHERE ARE JOB VACANCIES NORMALLY ADVERTISED?
Vacancies are normally advertised across a variety of digital and non-digital platforms, including:
- Online job posting boards
- Recruitment agencies
- Organisation websites
- Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter
- Local newspapers and their websites
- Community notice boards
- Industry specific journals and magazines
WHAT'S THE SIMPLEST WAY TO BE NOTIFIED OF JOB VACANCIES?
One of the simplest and easiest ways to be notified of vacancies is by registering your details with online job posting boards. The most common websites include the following:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF REGISTERING WITH A RECRUITMENT AGENCY?
In addition to registering your details on job posting boards, you may also want to register with local recruitment agencies. These can be found by searching the internet for recruitment agencies in your area or specific to the industry that you would like to work in.
There are many benefits of registering with recruitment agencies. For example:
- They can provide interview preparation support.
- They can provide more information about the organisation and the job vacancy.
- They may be industry specific.
- They are free.
- They can provide you with feedback
- They may be able to negotiate terms on your behalf
- They have access to large networks.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR A VACANCY?
Organisations normally want applicants to apply using either own application form or by submitting a CV. The job advert should provide details on how to apply.
HOW CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROLE AND THE REQUIREMENTS?
Most vacancies should include a job pack. This would normally contain an application form, job description and person specification.
The job description should provide you with further information regarding the role and the tasks involved. The person specification should set out the knowledge, skills, experience, and personal qualities needed to undertake the role.
Further information about the role and organisation may also be available on the organisation’s website.
WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD I INCLUDE ON MY CV?
Most CVs should contain basic relevant information such as name and contact details along with an overview of your most recent employment and any other relevant employment. You would also include details of your relevant qualifications, training, skills and knowledge.
The level of detail and format of your CV would vary depending on the role you are applying for.
The main styles of CV are:
- traditional CV or chronological CV – list your work and education history, starting with the most recent
- skills based CV – focuses on your job-related skills and personal qualities
- technical CV – used in professions like IT and engineering and puts your industry-specific skills first followed by the other information
- creative CV – used in creative and digital arts and can link to an online portfolio, contain video or infographics, or include digital tools that make you stand out from the crowd
- academic CV – generally longer than a traditional or skills-based CV and often used for teaching and research careers
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CVS?
More information and support about CVs can be found on the National Careers Service website: CV sections | National Careers Service.
Many job posting sites and recruitment agencies also provide CV advice.
WHAT SORT OF SELECTION PROCESS CAN I EXPECT TO UNDERTAKE?
The selection process will vary depending on the type of role you are applying for and the industry.
The most common types of selection process include:
- A formal interview.
- Group interviews.
- A presentation.
- A scenarios-based assessment.
You may also be required to undertake some recruitment testing such as personality questionnaires.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT INTERVIEWS AND DIFFERENT SELECTION PROCESSES?
Interview advice and support can be found on the national careers website, via the following link: https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/careers-advice/interview-advice
Many job posting sites and recruitment agencies also provide advice and guidance regarding interviews and selection processes.
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFROMATION ABOUT AN EMPLOYER?
Most organisations will have a website which contains information about them including policies and benefits. You may also want to look on websites such as Glassdoor, which provides anonymous reviews on over 600,000 companies worldwide from the people that work there: https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/index.htm
WHAT CHECKS WILL BE UNDERTAKEN IF IM SUCCESSFUL FOR A ROLE?
Before making an unconditional offer of employment, employers should carry out various employment checks. These checks are to ensure that you are allowed to work in the UK, that there are no restrictions on you carrying out the work, that you are fit to undertake the role, and to validate the information given during the selection process.
The checks made by the employer may include:
- Right to work in the UK
- Criminal records check (known as DBS checks)
- Health checks
- Proof of identity
WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS/CERTIFICATES OF NO CRIMINAL CONVICTION?
More information about criminal records checks can be found on the GOV.UK website, via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/dbs-check-applicant-criminal-record.
Certificates of No Criminal Conviction (CNCCs)
The authorities in Hong Kong have declared that Certificates of No Criminal Conviction (CNCCs), the equivalent of a criminal records check, can only be obtained for reasons relating to applications for a visa, to visit or to reside in another country, or for the adoption of children. However, in exceptional circumstances, they may also give consideration where a CNCC is required to meet the legal or administrative requirements of foreign countries. This could include pre-employment checks needed for a BN(O) to start a job in the UK in some sectors such as healthcare and education.
In the UK there are some statutory requirements for employers to carry out such checks, but in many instances, it is only best practice to do so. Information about pre-employment checks in the education sector can be found in Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 3 – Safer Recruitment) and for healthcare under the NHS Employment Criminal Record Check standards.
As of 8 June 2022, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) no longer issues letters to the Hong Kong Police as part of a CNCC request. If the applicant holds an offer of employment from an organisation that requires a CNCC check, they should request a CNCC direct from the Hong Kong Police. They should include an official offer of employment from their prospective employer as part of their CNCC application.
For example, in the case of education, applicants should include a letter offering them a job from a UK school or organisation when applying. For healthcare, applicants should include an official offer of employment from the relevant organisation, for example, the NHS. If granted, the Hong Kong Police will send the CNCC directly to the prospective employer.
Guidance on requesting a CNCC (such as the style of letter required) is available on the Hong Kong Police website.
If the Hong Kong Police do not provide a CNCC, we would encourage the BN(O) to contact the employer and direct them to the relevant guidance for when obtaining a CNCC is not possible: in education, Keeping Children Safe in Education (Part 3 – Safer Recruitment) and for healthcare, of the NHS employers guidance (point 7.5).
WHAT REFERENCES SHOULD I PROVIDE?
Most employers will request a reference from your current or most recent employer. They should also provide you with details of whom else they would like a reference from. This would normally be a work, academic or character references.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I ENCOUNTER TECHNICAL ISSUES WITH SHARE CODE?
Technical issues should be directed to the UKVI Resolution Centre (RC) using link below:
ADDITIONAL ONLINE RESOURCES:
ACAS provide free and impartial advice to employers, employees and their representatives on:
- employment rights
- best practice and policies
- resolving workplace conflict
National Careers Service – https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/
The National Careers Service provide careers information, advice, and guidance. They can help you to make decisions on learning, training, and work at all stages in your career.
GOV.UK – https://www.gov.uk/
The GOV.UK website provides guidance and support regarding Government services and information including employment rights.
Citizens Advice Bureau – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/
Citizens Advice Bureau provides online, on the phone and face to face advice and guidance across a range of topics including employment rights, contracts and pay.