The new prevention of illegal working regime commenced on 16 May 2014 and the Home Office has just published a number of new guides for employers.
Of particular importance is the new document ‘An employers guide to right to work checks‘. This provides detailed information about the new list of documents to be checked in order to establish a defence against enforcement action along with guidance on when and how to conduct checks.
There are a number of new changes coming into force today, as follows:
- In respect of employees with temporary permission to be in the UK in order to perform specific work, employers are no longer automatically required to conduct checks every 12 months following the initial right to work check in order to retain their statutory excuse. A follow-up check will instead be required as specified in the guidance. In the majority of cases, this will be when the employee’s permission to be in the United Kingdom in order to perform the specific work expires, as evidenced by the document, or combination of documents, produced for the right to work check;
- A new system has been introduced for establishing a defence for a period of six months where there is an outstanding immigration appeal or application along with a 28 day follow up requirement in other specified situations as outlined in the guidance;
- 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).
The Home Office has also published substantial information on the new civil penalty scheme that is effective from today, along with further guides about the system that employers may find useful. These can all be found here.
We provide employers with detailed legal advice on their general right to work checking procedures and policies and advice concerning specific employee related issues. We also work very closely with sponsors who have a positive obligation, as part of their role, to help to prevent abuse of the immigration system and who therefore need to have extremely robust measures in place.
If you need legal advice about the new prevention of illegal working requirements or your sponsors duties, please contact us.