Immigration is back in the news yet again after UKIP MP Godfrey Bloom caused a storm of criticism on the back of his remarks about sending foreign aid to “Bongo Bongo Land”.
Never mind abroad, we have plenty to occupy our thoughts here in the UK. The Home Office has come up with their latest Bright Idea to deal with illegal immigrants to the UK. They have been sending vans round six London boroughs telling illegal immigrants they would be arrested unless they volunteered to go home. It’s quite astonishing. Who (other than The Looking Glass World’s White Queen who believes six impossible things before breakfast) would think such a scheme has any credibility?
Is a poster van threatening illegal immigrants to ‘come clean’, or be arrested, going to be an effective method of identifying illegal immigrants? Will the wording, ‘Go home or face arrest’, motivate illegal immigrant to depart (I think we all know the answer to that) or is there a risk that it will invite those who are looking for reasons to direct negativity to all immigrants?
It smacks of out-of-control desperation (and Labour has got no better ideas for managing this difficult challenge). We are one of the most crowded places on the planet now, so we do need to manage immigration properly. The latest figures, produced by the Office of National Statistics and the Home Office, show that in the year ending September 2012, immigration was estimated at 500,000 while emigration was estimated at 347,000 – a difference of 153,000. Those legally entering the UK are often vital to the successful running of some services in this country. Some are visiting students coming here to study which is good for us. They all have the correct visas and therefore the right to be here, We will probably never know those that are entering illegally.
As employers we have a duty to ensure that only those that have the right to work in the UK are being employed – it is illegal to employ someone who does not have that right. For all those you employ, the legal obligation is to carry out document checks to ensure their right to work in the UK. To avoid discrimination, you should not make presumptions about a person’s right on the basis of their background, appearance or accent.
The law on preventing illegal working is set out in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, sections 15 to 25, which replaced the 1996 Act and came into force in February 2008. Acceptable documents are split into two lists, List A and List B. These can be found on the Home Office website, www.homeoffice.go.uk. You should not accept an NI number only as this does not provide acceptable evidence, but should coincide with a passport, visa or birth certificate (for example). The original documents should be seen and copied from file.
Make sure that you report any that are seeking work illegally. If you employ a person who does not have the right to work in the UK, you can be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker or face criminal prosecution – a lot of money to come off your bottom line!
Is it worth the risk? Contact Russell HR Consulting to carry out a HR Audit and ensure you have everything you should to avoid prosecution.
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