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HR Tip: Immigrant workers

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These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


Q: We have a South African working for us. He is an extremely good worker. However we have been given reason to suspect that he is not entitled to work in the United Kingdom. What should we do? How long does he have to work for us before he acquires the right to remain?

A: People who do not have the automatic right to work in the United Kingdom do not acquire that right by length of service. You must immediately investigate the matter by requiring your employee to produce evidence that he has the right to work in this country. If you employed him before 1 May 2004 a Work Permit or appropriate passport entry would be sufficient evidence.

However since that date the documentary evidence has become more demanding and those single documents would be insufficient. Telephone the Home Office helpline on 020 8649 7878 for a copy of the code of practice which gives details and illustrations of the documents required to satisfy the Asylum and Immigration Act. You can download it from www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk. If your employee cannot provide you with sufficient documentary evidence you must terminate his employment immediately and without notice. Your failure to do so is likely to result in you being fined £5,000 for employing an illegal immigrant.

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