Employers warned to prepare for new immigration laws

A fresh warning has been sounded for employers to prepare themselves for immigration laws coming into force later this year.

Organisations wishing to hire workers from outside the EU have to sign up to the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) newly-launched register of sponsors to conform with tier two and five of the new points-based system, which will be implemented in November.

The UKBA has warned that employers without a sponsor’s licence when tiers two and five launch face a period without permission to employ migrant workers.

Elaine McIlroy, associate at employment law firm Dundas & Wilson, this week advised employers to prepare for the new laws in order to avoid “embarrassment”. The UKBA has adopted a policy of naming and shaming employers that breach the rules on its website, along with penalties imposed.

“The reputational damage for large corporate bodies could be substantial,” McIlroy said.

Under the requirements of the new system, employers must implement robust HR processes, assessed by the UKBA, to ensure an adequate system is in place for processes such as migrant tracking and monitoring.

“The new regime is far more rigorous than the system it replaces,” said McIlroy. “For example, if migrant workers are absent from work for certain periods, the employer must report that to the UKBA.”

Last month Sarah Buttler, partner at law firm Sarah Buttler Associates, told Personnel Today there would be a bottleneck of applications over the autumn.

“Between now and November there will be a rush for employers to apply and get the UKBA to assess them,” she said. “Employers must prepare now to apply.”

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