Employing people from overseas hit the headlines again last month with the Queen’s Speech and the announcement of government plans to crack down on illegal workers, and further limit sponsorship of overseas workers.
Employers are ultimately responsible for checking that employees have the right to work in the UK. Deliberately taking on illegal workers can result in criminal charges, and even if you can show it was a genuine error, you can still be fined – according to ACAS up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.
Sponsoring overseas talent is just as demanding, your responsibilities continue after you’ve completed the application process, even after the employee has left your company.
We’ve done it ourselves, and are fully aware of the implications of taking this approach. Fortunately we have an HR system that helps!
So here’s how to ensure you stay on the right side of the law when taking on outside-EU talent…
Keep copies of relevant documents
It’s important to make sure that all of your employees have the right to work in the UK before they start work with you. Supporting documentation should be checked, photocopied, signed and dated and kept somewhere safe. When employing non-EU workers you’ll need a copy of their passport and right to work documentation, and you’ll also need to check they have the necessary qualifications or professional accreditations to do their jobs.
With Cezanne HR, it’s easy to upload these document into the system – where they’ll be kept safe by the system’s security, but available whenever you need them. Information needs to be kept for at least two years after the employee leaves.
Stay on top of expiry dates
Passports, and more importantly, visas expire. You need to demonstrate to the Home Office that you’ve a process in place to monitor – and take appropriate action – as expiry dates approaches. Cezanne HR lets you set up reminders, so alerts can be automatically sent to HR in plenty of time. This feature can be used for a whole host of other activities – for example to let you know when a training certificate needs to be renewed.
Monitor change of address
If you employee an outside-EU worker, the Home Office needs to be told if your employee changes their address. With Cezanne HR, the system will automatically notify you when this information is changed – and allows you to keep a full history of contact information.
Track and record employees’ attendance
The Home Office also wants to know that sponsored workers are showing up for work when they are expected too. Tracking absences in an HR system will allow you to demonstrate to them that you are monitoring attendance – and can flag up any potential issues, since the employer is also responsible for notifying the Home Office if the employee stops coming to work.
It’s worth remembering that student visas have special restrictions in terms of the hours that can be worked, so if you offer placements to students, make sure your HR system can manage their restricted working hours.
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