Chris Wilkinson from Expert HR Solutions says that the latest report on the checks employers have to make on the right to work post Brexit could prove problematic for employers who have become accustomed to working with hard copy documents, as the Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes is quoted as saying: “Government services are digital by default. We would prefer that to be the default route and think that it provides a much quicker and seamless service.”
Traditionally employers have asked to see documents such as passports and biometric cards, were understood by employers and the proposed digital-only settled status system’s success depended on businesses embracing a new way of working Chris continues.
Last month, the government pronounced on how EU citizens who had lived in the UK for at least five years could apply for settled status. The proposal makes the settled status process as paperless as possible, issuing successful applicants with digital codes. Employers can then enter these codes into the Home Office website to confirm the applicant’s immigration status. Chris warns employers that there is a risk of a civil penalty for employers employing someone without the correct immigration status. He continues that far too often he comes across situations where the employer assumes that because the potential employee has been employed in the UK before the correct checks have been done and the right to work established.
More guidance on how employers were expected to keep records of these digital codes would be helpful. It might also be the case that the codes could allow employers to view sensitive information about employees, such as details of any criminal convictions, names and addresses they would need to keep any record of these codes in accordance with the GDPR.
Meanwhile, the Home Office accounts for the year ended 31 March 2018, which were published last week revealed the number of staff employed by UK Visas and Immigration had risen to 7,680 full-time equivalent workers, up roughly a fifth (18.8 per cent) compared with 6,467 the year before.
However, Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, released last week, showed the number of EU citizens immigrating to the UK had dropped in the last year, while the number leaving the country had shot up. In particular the number of people moving to the UK from the bloc to look for work fell by 18,000 compared with the previous year to 37,000.
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