On 6 May 2014 the government published a new Draft Code of Practice on preventing illegal working.
- In respect of employees with temporary permission to be in the UK in order to perform specific work, employers are not automatically required to conduct checks every 12 months following the initial right to work check to retain their statutory excuse. A follow-up check will instead be required as specified in the Code. Generally, this will be when the employee’s permission to be in the United Kingdom in order to perform specific work expires, as evidenced by the document, or combination of documents, produced for the right to work check;
- The range of documents that are acceptable for checking the right to work have been reduced;
- In respect of students who have a restricted right to work, employers will be required to obtain and retain a copy of evidence from a student’s education sponsor, setting out their term and vacation times covering the duration of their period of study in the UK for which they will be employed;
- An extension of the grace period to 60 days for conducting right to work checks for employees acquired as a result of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations;
- A revised method for calculating civil penalty levels;
- Inclusion of the payment by instalment option; and
- The reduction of the civil penalty amount for early payment (fast payment option).
A number of the new measures are designed to assist employers in ensuring compliance with the rules.
New hurdles for international students
However, in relation to international students and the new requirement for employers to obtain evidence from a student’s education sponsor, there is a risk that this may deter some employers from offering jobs to international students who are seeking part-time work in line with the conditions on their visas.
The new formal requirement is also likely to lead to many universities and other education providers receiving a flood of requests from employers for letters to confirm term and vacation times. We would recommend that education providers put in place a streamlined process to deal with such requests efficiently.
Education providers that hold a Tier 4 sponsor licence should check, before issuing such a document, that the student in question has the right to work to avoid any potential future issues in relation to their own sponsor licence.
When do the new rules apply?
The new Code applies where an initial check on a potential employee, or a repeat check on an existing employee, is required on or after 16 May 2014 in order for the employer to be able to establish a statutory excuse.
If you require further information on the rules on preventing illegal working please contact us.
We will be covering some of these changes during the two upcoming immigration workshops we are running with London Higher. You can find information on how to book a place here.