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Haines Watts Kettering Phone icon 01536 483513

As a business owner, do you check ALL of your employees?

 

Imagine this. You run a successful business, your local reputation is positive, your team is growing and you’ve been able to secure talented resource from overseas. As well as retaining this talent for some years, you are proud of the experience you have furnished them with, and have enjoyed both their contribution to your business, and the diversity of your team. Then, one morning, two gentlemen with stern faces show up at your office from the UK Visas and Immigration (previously UK Border Agency).

 

The first thing you need to realise is that your entire day is now cancelled! That important client meeting where you hoped to close a deal, that important employee performance meeting, that lunch with your wife, husband or friend, all of these will need to be mothballed.

 

Why? Because you are now entering an interview and audit of at least a 5 hours. This is not to be sniffed at: it’s serious stuff and it’s important to get it right.

 

Why me? In our experience, the two main reasons that businesses may receive a call from the UK Visas and Immigration are that they have either been randomly flagged up for audit or the authorities have been tipped off.

 

What happens? You may be asked to provide your company financial records, lease agreements, pay arrangements, employee data, records for starters and leavers and personnel files. You will also be interviewed about the process you underwent to secure your talent and, should you have failed to meet your obligations in terms of determining your employees’ right to work in the UK, then you may be subject to a fine of up to £20k per illegal employee, and an improvement plan.

 

Some of the best performing teams are rich with a range of academic and non-academic resumés, religious beliefs, backgrounds and languages. It doesn’t mean that you need to miss out, but you do need to ensure that you comply with your obligations as a UK employer. These obligations are as important as your health and safety, tax or VAT responsibilities. To do so means you not only benefit from the right talent but you will feel at ease if and when you have a visit. It then becomes an interesting diary entry rather than a blot on your company reputation or a dent on your balance sheet.

 

What to do? The process is well documented – there is lots of helpful information on the Government website to help you determine the process for any non-British citizen for example. But there is little tolerance for ignorance or avoidance, so it’s worth consulting with a specialist to ensure you know and meet your obligations.

 

Here are three simple but key employment steps from the team at HW Human Resources:

 

  1. Ensure you carry out eligibility to work checks for all employees
  2. Consult a specialist to support you through any visa obligations
  3. Keep records of every step.

 

And, remember, all potential employees are required to provide evidence of their entitlement to work in the UK, not just those subject immigration control.

 

For more information or for your HR Health check please feel free to contact HW Human Resources on 01604 746760.

Want to know more? Call us on 01536 483513 or email kettering@hwca.com

About the author

Alexandra Garner

Alexandra's role is two-fold; she partners with CEOs, executives and owner-managed businesses to align their people strategy with their business strategy. With her team, she has a relentless focus on any given destination with the aim of reaching it in the smartest, most commercial and economical way. She’s also a member of the Haines Watts (SEM) Board, where she leads the development and implementation of people strategy, aimed at building and retaining high performing individuals.

Earning her stripes in the motor, retail-leisure sectors and IT managed service environment, Alexandra worked across a portfolio of owner managed businesses and international finance houses, designing solutions that enabled each business to thrive. Taking a gamble in 2010, she set up her own HR consultancy which allowed her to bring her own business ideas to life. This facilitated her joining Haines Watts in 2016, bringing her portfolio and team along with her. After 2 decades in the industry, as a qualified HR professional, she continues to prove that HR is an asset.

Alexandra’s solution-focused, often inspiring others to better themselves and is a strong influencer within the business, pushing fellow board members to make smart people decisions. Recently, having become a mother, she’s now thriving from the challenge of balancing both her career aspirations and family life.

“I love spending time with my 'partner in crime' (Peter!), whether this be trying out new restaurants, planning holidays, or just relaxing and having a laugh together. I’m passionate about being fit and strong, both physically and mentally. Regardless of what life throws at me, I ensure I take time out to plug in some music, lift some weights or go for a bike ride.”

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