01635 600305
Bespoke Human Resources Consultancy

Are your employees legal?

Acme Ltd is a small company employing around 30 employees. They have been established for around 10 years, have been successful and are growing. Their employees are loyal and many have been there since the beginning. They don’t have an HR department but they do ask for my help when they think they have an HR matter.

At the beginning I explained that they needed to check that all employees have the right to work in the UK before their first day of employment and that the documents must be originals. Since receiving this advice they have been taking copies of the relevant documents of new employees who have started, but they haven’t quite got around to checking all their original employees – but it was on the To Do list.

As they are struggling to fill some key roles in the business they are going to look outside Europe and have applied for a Sponsorship Licence. This is a lengthy and time consuming process, but on the advice of their Consultant, they used a specialist company to assist them with the process. This company warned that as part of this process they are likely to have an audit of all their current paperwork. 

The MD asked a member of the admin team, Becky, to do an audit of their Proof of Right to Work paperwork. She is busy chasing up people for documents and then comes across a copy of a passport containing an indefinite leave to remain endorsement. However, the passport expired in 2014. She asks the employee, Ben, if the passport has been renewed and to bring in a copy. Ben duly brings in the passport but it does not contain any immigration endorsements. They give me a call. Ben should have obtained a separate biometric residence permit when he got his new passport. 

Panic – what does this mean? Effectively the Company has been employing Ben illegally and there is no alternative than to terminate Ben’s employment with immediate effect.

However, Ben had been a valued member of the team, so once he managed to obtain the right documentation they were able to re-employ him.

A satisfactory outcome, but it took time, effort and was a stressful time for all concerned.

How could this situation be avoided? By keeping accurate records:

  • Make sure documentation that is provided is still in date.
  • Make sure the document is one that is on the list of acceptable documents.
  • When there is time-limited permission; make a  note in the diary well in advance of the expiry date to ensure you check whether they have been extended or changed and whether this has a material effect on the employee’s right to work.
  • Keep a spreadsheet with all details as back up and audit regularly.

Follow these simple steps to make sure that your employees are all legal. If you’re not sure, get in touch by calling 01635 600305 or by clicking here to email us.

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