Employing migrant workers – Need to know

Employing non-UK nationals can bring with it a variety of benefits, may reduce workforce shortages and can help promote equality and diversity. Yet business owners need to understand how to comply with relevant legislation and make sure the candidate is legally employable in the UK.

The Home Office provides the following list of issues to consider:

Your candidate should be able to provide one of the following documents:

  • A passport displaying either British citizenship or the right of abode in the UK.
  • A national passport or identity card showing that the holder is a national of a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland (click here for a list of these countries).
  • A document issued by the Home Office stating that the holder has a current right of residence in the UK as the family member of a national from a EEA country or Switzerland who is resident in the UK.
  • A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the holder is exempt from immigration control, can stay indefinitely in the UK, or has no time limit on their stay. – An Application Registration Card issued by the Home Office to an asylum seeker stating that the holder is permitted to take up employment.

Make the necessary checks on these documents::

  • Photographs. Does the person look like the photographs on their documents?
  • Dates of birth. Are the dates consistent with the appearance of the candidate?
  • Expiry dates. If the documents have an expiry date, are they still valid?
  • Stamps and endorsements. Do the passport stamps allow your job applicant to do the type of work you are offering?
  • Names. Is the same name used on all the documents?

Store the candidate’s information correctly and safely:
When you have checked the candidate’s documents and you are satisfied that they are genuine, you will need to save copies of them for your records. You can do this by either photocopying the documents or scanning them into your computer if you have the means.

See if candidates should register with the Worker Registration Scheme:
Is your candidate from one of the following countries (known as A8 countries)? – Czech, Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia

An A8 worker should apply to register with the Home Office as soon as they begin working, and within one month of starting work for you. It is the A8 worker’s responsibility to apply to register, but you will need to provide them with evidence of their employment (a contract or letter) in order for them to apply. Application forms can be obtained by downloading from /visas-immigration/work-visas – dot gov.

You should take a copy of the completed application form before your worker sends this to the Home Office and within one month of them starting work for you. You should keep a copy of this application form until you receive official notification from the Home Office about the outcome of your worker’s application, and this will provide you with a defence from conviction for employing an unregistered worker who is not exempt from the scheme. In the overwhelming majority of cases the Home Office will register the worker and will send you a copy of your worker’s registration certificate confirming this.

You should retain this copy, which will be issued by Work Permits (UK). If the A8 worker informs you that they are exempt from registering under the Worker Registration Scheme, you will still need to ask them for documentary evidence of their exemption within one month. In this way, you can satisfy yourself that they are exempt from the scheme, and establish a statutory defence from conviction for employing an unregistered A8 worker. If the Home Office sends you notice of its refusal to register your worker, you should immediately stop employing that person.

For more information click here: www.employingmigrantworkers.org.uk

Related: EU national workers: How to secure their future in the UK after Brexit

Adam Wayland

Uriel Bruen

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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