McGill and Co act for a number of organisations who seek sponsor licences, assisting in the application to be added as a sponsor and then providing advice and support once the licence is in place. Once a licence has been granted and migrant workers are sponsored it is important to keep up with the Home Office's expectations. We are seeing increasing numbers of compliance visits by the Home Office. These visits will want to review the organisation's HR systems, payroll, and migrant documentation (amongst other things).
It is important to note that the Home Office expect sponsors to meet a variety of responsibilities, outlined here.
These include ensuring certificates are issued in line with the rules, to migrants who are suitable for the role, recording a migrant's attendance (or failure to attend work) and advising of changes to the employment or the business itself.
An important area of focus is in the retention of documents. The Home Office expect employers to retain a variety of documents, able to be easily retrievable and regularly updated in some cases.
A guidance document provides data on the specific retention periods and the types of items that must be held.
Failure to comply with these requirements could lead to the suspension of the licence or the revocation of the licence. Indeed there is a wider importance to doing so, since obtaining appropriate documentation in respect of employees can provide a statutory defence for employers to any illegal working penalty under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, recently amended by the The Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) (Codes of Practice and Amendment) Order 2014. See our previous blog on this topic here.
For many employers the kind of HR management that the Home Office expect will largely fall in line with their existing systems and practice, however it is often better to seek advice on compliance at an early stage.