Employing Workers from Overseas

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In November 2008 major changes were made to the Immigration Regulations. Under these regulations a potential employee from overseas will have to be sponsored by a UK employer prior to receiving entry clearance (permission to enter the UK).

Migrant workers will need to show they can obtain sufficient points to qualify for sponsorship and the UK Border Agency must also be satisfied that there is nothing in the worker’s history that would suggest their presence in the UK would be undesirable.

Sponsors Licence

Prior to employing migrant workers an Employer must obtain a licence. The licence is valid for four years. The employer must register on line with the UK Border Agency and then complete an on line application form giving details of their business, nominated personnel for the various tasks and the number of certificates/tiers they wish to have for the first year. These numbers can be amended during the course of the licence and extra tiers can be added.

Once the application has been submitted, payment for the licence and supporting documentation must be sent to the agency within 10 working days.  A compliance visit from the UK Border Agency may take place prior to the granting of the licence.  Random compliance visits by UK Border Agency officials may also take place at any time during the period of the licence.

Criteria for obtaining a Licence

To meet the criteria an organisation must show that they have an effective human resource system in place.

The five individual areas that will be rated are:

  • Monitoring immigration status and preventing illegal employment
  • Maintaining migrant contact details
  • Record keeping
  • Migrant tracking and monitoring
  • Recruitment practices and professional accreditations

The sponsor’s previous immigration history (if any) will be checked to see they have not received a civil penalty for immigration offences.

Key personnel operating the sponsorship system on behalf of the employer, ie Authorising Officer, Key Contact and Level 1 User will also be subject to immigration checks to ensure they do not have any criminal convictions and there is no evidence of previous non compliance.

Sponsor’s Obligations

A sponsor must fulfil the following obligations to ensure they remain compliant:

  • Up to date policies and procedures
  • Accurate personnel records
  • Copies of passport/visa details
  • Copy of ID card information (where applicable)
  • Notify the Agency if a migrant worker is absent (unauthorised) from their job for a period of time
  • Keep accurate records of holiday and sickness 

Wendy Lock
10 April 2010


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Throgmorton is one of the leading companies specialising in the provision of financial and administrative outsourcing in the UK SME financial services sector.

The information in this notice is intended for general guidance only. Throgmorton does not accept any responsibility for losses incurred to any person acting or refraining to act as a result of the information in this notice. Advice should be taken in the context of specific circumstances.