HR directors are putting themselves at risk of jail or huge fines ahead of the new rules for employing skilled migrant workers, a survey has found.
Under Tiers 2 and 5 of the new points-based system – covering skilled migrant workers and overseas temps respectively – organisations wishing to hire workers from outside the EU from 1 November need to be listed on the UK Border Agency's (UKBA) register of sponsors.
A survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Legal found that 88% of HR teams have still not applied for a sponsorship licence. HR directors who fail to implement illegal working laws leave themselves open to possible prison sentences and their firms open to fines of £10,000 per employee.
More than half of the 170 HR directors surveyed cited concerns at checking their internal processes as the main reason for not registering. In addition, 60% of those surveyed said they either didn't know if they had the systems in place to track the basic information required by the UKBA.
Julia Onslow-Cole, partner and head of global immigration at PwC Legal, said: "Currently, UKBA will only guarantee that sponsorship applications received by 1 October will be processed in time, leaving companies facing additional HR challenges at a time of uncertain economic conditions.
"This process takes time and the clock is ticking loudly. Migrant compliance is not optional and companies need to heed this warning."