The Home Office have indicated that they will want to do either a pre or post licence application review of the HR systems and processes. In most cases these audits by the Home Office are unannounced and if an employer is not prepared or does not have the requisite procedures in place it could lead to the Sponsor Licence being revoked and any Tier 2 visas for their employees being curtailed.
In conducting this review, the Home Office would rate the sponsor’s HR systems and processes on a three-point scale (1 being the best score and 3 the worst).
Specifically, they would look at the following five areas:
- Monitoring immigration status and preventing illegal working
- Maintaining migrant workers’ contact details
- Record keeping
- Migrant tracking and monitoring
- Recruitment practices and professional accreditations
To maintain an A-rates sponsor licence under the Points Based System, a company would need to receive a 1 or near 1 rating in each of these areas.
We are able to ensure you remain compliant with your duties under the Sponsor Licence System and are able to manage the entire Tier 2 Sponsorship process for you – working with you to ensure a successful A-rated licence is granted and retained. As your legal representatives we can be present during an audit by the Home Office and can even conduct a mock audit of your business in order to ensure you have the correct procedures in place.
The Government’s legislation relating to Employer’s Liability places obligations on employers to assist in the prevention of illegal working. It is a vital component of any pre-employment check that the immigration status of all overseas nationals subject to immigration control is verified.
We can help you establish a Statutory Excuse against any civil or criminal action brought under Section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.
Our immigration lawyers will ensure that your company meets the requirements of the Illegal Working Legislation comprehensively and is covered at all times.
The Importance of Compliance for an Employer
Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that she will be simplifying Britain’s visa system. The purpose of doing this is to make the nation more attractive to businesses. Her most recent announcement is that she plans to reduce the types of visas required for visitors to the UK in the business category from fifteen to four from April 2015.
Although the purpose of this change is to make Britain more attractive to businesses by reducing the red tape and cutting down processing times, as it stands, recruiting non EU nationals is very complex and many have their reservations as to whether her plans will have the desired impact.
Making sure that all the rules are adhered to is very challenging for an employer, and there are some important issues which employers should be aware of in order to avoid sanctions by the Home Office. Most importantly, every employer must check that each employee has the right to work in the UK. Employers must request to see employees’ passports and any other documents (such as a biometric residence permits or immigration status documents) that confirm their right to work. Copies of these must be kept on the employee’s file and be available for inspection by the Home Office.
These rules are in place to make it harder for people with no right to work in the UK to unlawfully gain or keep employment. The Government is keen to deter employers from engaging illegal workers and has set the maximum fine under the civil penalty regime at £20,000 per illegal worker and can trigger criminal prosecution. For employers, this highlights the importance of checking what their obligations are when employing an overseas worker and adhering to those obligations.
If these employee checks are conducted according to the regulations and the required copy documents are kept, an employer will avoid being fined. However, if an employer has been informed that the Home Office is going to impose a fine, that employer has the right to challenge it, in which case professional advice is essential.