A recent survey by Migrate UK has confirmed that nearly 33% of businesses are oblivious to the serious penalties they face if they do not secure and retain the correct documents for sponsored non-EU employees.
With the UK set to officially leave the EU in March 2019, employers may choose to go beyond the borders of Europe to attain the essential skills and talents needed for their businesses.
Yet Migrate UK has said that scores of companies are failing to conduct adequate internal compliance audits in their role as sponsors of overseas workers.
Of the 1000 companies who participated in the survey, the international law firm found that 93% could have their licence retracted for failure to comply with the required procedures.
Tougher measures were introduced by the Government in 2016 – by way of the Immigration Act – to deter illegal working in the UK, with all employers, regardless of whether they hold a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence or not, having to comply with these changes.
Failure to follow the obligatory regulations can result in severe punishment, including companies being closed with immediate effect and company directors facing imprisonment.
Only 7% of companies surveyed advertised their vacancies correctly and 95% failed to inform the Home Office of any change in circumstances of their non-EU workers.
Furthermore, only one third understood what compulsory documents were needed to be retained on file for sponsored oversea workers. Companies that employ workers from overseas are required to retain documentation including absence records, payslips and professional certifications.
Furthermore, they must hold Tier 2 Resident Labour Market tests (this proves no skilled worker is available in the UK for the position needed).
38% of employers who took part in the survey need more training with regards to the paperwork required for overseas workers, and a further 50% were also revealed to be unsure of the documentation needed for British employees, including copies of passports or driving licences.
Migrant UK has warned that even though businesses still have eighteen months before a new immigration system will be implemented following Brexit, they need to be preparing themselves now and following the correct procedures under the current act.
It is crucial that businesses avoid losing their licence, since skills shortages will become more apparent following the UK’s departure from the EU.
As the freedom of movement for people between the UK and EU is set to come to an end, it is probable that employers and overseas workers will use sponsorship as a way to secure clearance for working in the UK.
Following the findings of the survey, Jonathan Beech, Migrate UK’s managing director, advised that businesses should keep endorsed HR files for all employees, which includes passport copies.
Employers should also carry out frequent internal audits to monitor the recording of correct paperwork in case the Home Office pays a visit.
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