July 1 2013 marked Mark Carney’s first day as the new Governor of the Bank of England, in what could be considered one of the toughest jobs in Central Banking. Formerly of the Bank of Canada, and debuting (fittingly) on Canada Day, Carney is officially the first foreign Governor in the Bank’s 319 year history. While opinions circulate only four days into his new post as to whether or not he is up to the task of recovering the British economy, it is evident he has hit the ground running, ruling out early hikes in interest rates to stimulate confidence in the cost of borrowing . Credited with helping Canada’s economy recover faster from global turndown than any other major developed nation, Carney will spend the next five years in the UK doing the same for the Bank of England.

Like Carney, many other foreign workers come to the UK and contribute their time, skills, experience, and specialisms to the variety of roles they have filled over the years. Most, if not all, of these employees will have entered the UK on a number of different Visas relating to the kind of work they can do and how long they are entitled to stay in the country as well as other conditions relevant to their stay. Businesses are required by law to comply with their licence obligations, particularly those with a Tier 2 Sponsor license, which grants an employer the right to employ non-EU citizens for a skilled job in the UK.
As Tesco has recently found out, the UK Border Agency will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to comply with their license agreement – they have been fined £115,000 for employing foreign students who were found breaking the conditions of their Visas by working too many hours. Do you employ a foreign worker? And what are your obligations as a Licensed Sponsor?

Avoid the risk of penalty and brush up on your sponsor license duties by using the following list as a guideline for employing foreign workers:

1) Prevent illegal working: Employers must ensure they are carrying out all ‘right to work’ checks on all new employees, regardless of their nationality. Annual checks must be carried out on all migrant workers with limited leave to remain in the UK.

2) Maintain contact details: Employers are required to keep up to date personal contact details for all of their sponsored workers including home address, next of kin, and phone numbers. It is important to have a system in place to monitor changes in this information as it happens.

3) Keep Records: Employers are also required to keep documents relating to the employment of Tier 2 employees for the duration of their sponsorship including keeping copies of pay slips, employment contracts, and other documents specified by the UKBA.

4) Track and Monitor: Employers are obligated to report information on sponsored employees within 10 working days such as failure to attend the first day of work, unexplained absences of 10 working days or more, and suspected breach of conditions of leave, for example.

5) Recruitment Practices and Professional Accreditations: Employers must also ensure that a migrant who is coming to work is legally entitled to do the job in question and that they have the appropriate registration or professional accreditation where it is legally required. Where a vacancy is advertised, the employer must keep the copies of the advert along with full details of the resident labour market search.

The penalty for breaching the conditions of sponsorship can be quite severe. An employer who negligently hires an illegal worker is considered to have committed a criminal offence and may be liable to a fine up to £10,000 for each illegal worker. The UK Border Agency has the right to visit the premises of any employer holding a sponsor license at any time – don’t get caught out!

To read more on this topic, please visit the UKBA website:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/points/sponsoringmigrants/

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/pbsguidance/

Shana is our (Canadian) Recruitment Team Assistant in London and has the joy of renewing her Visa at the end of the year.

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