EMPLOYING FOREIGN NATIONALS
(No.2 in a series of 4)
Following our last Information Update on the Legal Right to Work in the UK, this update focuses on the requirement for workers from eight Accession States, to obtain a Registration Certificate.
The Worker Registration Scheme
Workers will need to register with the Home Office if they:
are a national of: Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic subject to the Worker Registration Scheme; and
started a new job on or after 1 May 2004; or they have been working in the UK before 1 May 2004 without permission.
Employers will be responsible for ensuring that they are authorised to employ a worker from one of the eight Accession States.
Is the Employer Authorised?
During the first month of work:
The Employer is automatically authorised to employ the worker, during the first month.
The worker is required, within the first month, to make an application for a Registration Certificate and the Employer should provide the worker with a letter on business stationery confirming the employment and the start date.
The Employer is advised to take and retain a copy of the worker's completed application form as evidence that the worker has applied for registration.
After one month of work but before Registration Certificate is issued:
If the worker has made an application for registration, then the Employer is authorised to continue employing the worker until the application is decided.
If the worker does not apply for a registration certificate to the Home Office within one month of starting work for the employer; the employer is not authorised to continue employing them.
After Registration Certificate Issued:
If the registration certificate is issued the Employer will continue to be an authorised employer. The Employer should retain a copy of the valid Worker Registration Certificate.
Once the worker has been working legally in the UK for 12 months without a break the worker will have full rights of free movement and will no longer need to register on the Worker Registration Scheme. The worker can obtain a residence permit confirming their right to live and work in the UK.
Helping the Worker make an Application
Whilst it is the Workers responsibility to make an Application for a Registration Certificate, Employers might want to assist the Worker in making the Application, and get a copy of the completed Application at the same time (as evidence that the Application has been made).
Revised application forms and guidance notes are now available from the distribution centre by telephoning 0117 344 1471 or from the website www.workingintheuk.gov.uk
. These should be used for worker applications sent to the Border and Immigration Agency on or after the 19 November 2007.
If an Employer continues to employ a worker when the Employer is not authorised, i.e. employ them after one month when the worker has not made an application for registration or if the registration application is refused – the Employer may be guilty of committing a criminal offence. If convicted, the maximum penalty an employer will face is £5000, for each worker.
To remind you, last week the Home Office announced that under new measures to take effect in February 2008:
Employers who negligently hire illegal workers could face a maximum fine of £10,000 for each illegal worker found at a business.
Employers are found to have knowingly hired illegal workers they could incur an unlimited fine and be sent to prison.