It is a legal obligation for UK companies to ensure that they do not permit illegal working in the UK within their establishment. Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 makes it a criminal offence to employ individuals (migrants) with no right to work in the UK. It is therefore very important that good structures and systems are set up within the HR department (or the company as a whole as the case may be) to ensure that the company is compliant.
It is not uncommon for the Home Office to visit a business, especially where the business employs overseas workers. The Home Office’ regime for the Prevention of Illegal Working is applicable to all employers of labour in the UK and it includes a civil penalty scheme, criminal penalties and restrictions on sponsoring non-EEA nationals to work in the UK. This means that not only may companies be fined up to £10,000 per migrant worker, they may also be banned or restricted form sponsoring overseas (non-EEA) workers.
The , has shown that businesses have now rate compliance with immigration law as a high priority, only second to tax law compliance with regards to global mobility programmes. The importance of immigration law compliance can therefore not be overemphasized.
Reiss Edwards boasts of a highly knowledgeable and experienced immigration audit team who through years of practice have evolved a special and professional way of accessing loopholes within the existing compliance setup; as well as creating a new immigration compliance system.
As you well know, immigration laws always changing, companies must therefore not only keep tab on the existing compliance system, it must also conduct regular internal audits, checked with the current immigration laws to ensure that they are compliant at all times. Our immigration advisers can make this process seem effortless if you instruct us.
The Home Office would like to ensure that your company is compliant with an employer’s legal responsibilities and that you have the necessary HR systems and processes in place. If the company can prove to the Home Office full compliance, the company will continue to be A-rated sponsor.
With respect to immigration compliance, risk identification, assessment and setting up compliance measures is very important to the success of this process. UKBA audits of companies holding Tier 2 sponsorship licences have become more frequent and the audits more thorough; in some cases, they may even arrive unannounced. It is therefore crucial that companies are properly positioned more than ever to be prepared or a UKBA audit.
Without having to repeat what has been mentioned earlier, the following are a summary of the risks associated with non-compliance: –
1. Suspended or revoked licences
2. A downgrade to a B-Rating
3. Business reputational damage
4. A reduction in a company’s Certificates of Sponsorship
5. Business may be fined up to £10,000 per illegal migrant worker
6. Where an employer knowingly employs an illegal migrant, regardless of whether or not they have undertaken the relevant checks, they may be liable to up to 2years imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both