As we kick start 2022, many organisations are planning for the year ahead. Whilst ‘people’ are central to any strategy, immigration considerations can be easily overlooked. Here are five critical immigration factors that you should build into your strategy.
1. Recruitment process
Do you have a fair and transparent recruitment process? Are your policies fit for purpose? Are candidates prohibited from applying for a role because they require sponsorship?
It’s recommended that you don’t ask about an individual’s immigration status as part of an application form or during an initial interview as you may face a potential indirect discrimination claim if you later reject them.
Would you benefit from a review of your recruitment process to ensure that you can attract the best candidates for the role?
2. Is sponsorship the answer?
With the end of free movement, it’s important to remember that EU nationals are now treated like the rest of the world and are required to prove their immigration status in order to work in the UK.
If your organisation doesn’t already have a sponsor licence, it’s worth considering getting one as it could offer you a pathway to attracting global talent. It’s not a simple tick box exercise to get a sponsor licence and there are currently lengthy delays at the Home Office for processing these applications so this needs to be factored into your strategy. Would a sponsor licence open the pool of candidates that you could attract?
If you already have a sponsor licence, are you fully compliant? Could you gain advantage from a mock audit to assess your HR systems to check that you meet all of your sponsor duties?
3. New ways of working
Many organisations are offering hybrid and alternative ways of working and with this, comes different ways of managing onboarding processes, checking in on staff and complying with your sponsor duties.
Do you need to have policies in place for remote working requests? Are there risks if staff are working in different jurisdictions? Should you consider implementing an immigration policy for your internal HR team to help streamline processes?
4. Compliance, compliance, compliance
‘Compliance’ is a real buzz word.
Are there any gaps in your HR processes? Do you diarise visa expiry dates? Do you understand the importance of visa conditions?
There are many facets of compliance within immigration, including conducting right to work checks, maintaining appropriate records if you’re sponsoring an individual through to responding to information requests from the Home Office.
As the business world moves to some kind of normality, the Home Office are back to focusing on compliance visits. To avoid any unpleasant surprises and mitigate risk, it’s important that your organisation is fully compliant with immigration policies.
Would you benefit from an immigration MOT?
5. HR staff training
Training your staff is critical and this shouldn’t simply be one off training. Regular training on your organisation’s recruitment process, what to look out for if a candidate requires a work visa, conducting right to work checks is all essential. The right to work process is set to change from 6 April 2022.
There may also be other routes that permit an individual to work in the UK based on their personal circumstances so it’s beneficial to have an understanding of the UK immigration visa routes. Are you aware of the different immigration routes and visa conditions? How often do you provide training to your staff? Would your staff benefit from more training?
Understand More About UK Immigration through Employment and Other UK Immigration Matters
Bates Wells is a London-based full service firm with a global outlook. Championing the market as London's first B-Corp law firm, Bates Wells practices a value-driven approach to client relations and aligns themselves to notable causes. In their specialty area of Immigration Law, Bates Wells handles matters of: Personal Immigration, Business Immigration and High Net Worth Immigration.
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