Wondering how employers handle immigration status of an employee? If you’re caught employing people who are not legally allowed to work in the UK, you could be given a £20,000 fine and be disqualified from obtaining a sponsor license. In this case, any employees you are currently sponsoring will have to leave their job and leave the UK, and you won’t be permitted to sponsor anyone else from outside of the UK to work for you.
The recent Windrush scandal has called into question the reliability of the Home Office, and reinforced the need for caution from employers. In order to protect your business, your UK-born employees, and anyone you are legally sponsoring, you must make sure that anyone who is working for you has a legal right to work in the UK.
Here’s how employers handle immigration legally:
1.Check the applicants original documents
You must make sure that any documents show to you are the real ones. They must be unchanged, and belong to the person who has given them to you. Make sure that photographs are all the same and look like the person who is applying.
Make sure that the date of birth and name across all documents match each other, and that the dates of permission for employment have not expired.
Anyone who has different names on their documents must be able to show you why. They may have got married, for example, but then they must be able to show you a marriage certificate.
2. Ask the Home Office to make the check on your behalf
The Windrush scandal has called the capabilities of the Home Office into question, but if you’re caught employing people who are not legally allowed to work in the UK, it is the home office who will reprimand you.
The best way to make sure they can’t do this, then, is to use their Employer Checking Service.
You’ll need the potential employees permission to check their status. If they deny you this, that is a cause for concern.
You’ll need to confirm that you have seen their Certificate of Application or original Application Registration Card, so make sure you have seen one or the other.
You’ll also need the following information:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Job title
- Hours per week
- Home address
- Home office reference number or case ID
3. Keep a record of your checks
Every now and again someone is going to slip through the cracks, but as long as you can prove that you took all reasonable steps towards making sure your employee was allowed to work in the UK, you should be okay.
Take copies of the documents you’re shown, and make sure they are filed properly so that they’re easily accessible.
Keep a note of the dates you checked all official papers.
- Put a system in place
You should be checking the documents of your staff regularly to make sure that they are not out of date, and to ensure that you can prove to the Home Office that you’re doing everything you can to combat illegal working at your organisation.
Work with your HR department to put in place a proper system of checks, and make sure your staff are aware that you’ll be checking their documents once every six months or once a year.
Make sure the staff responsible for completing the checks are fully aware of the consequences for the business if you’re caught employing people who are working illegally, and that they know why such checks need to take place.