Immigration Minister Resigns

Recruitment is not an exact science and interviews are carried out anywhere on a scale between brilliant and abysmal according to the skills, knowledge and expertise of the interviewer.  There are legalities to be adhered to in several areas, but there is one area that many employers I meet either don’t know about or just simply can’t be bothered with and ignore no matter how many times I reinforce it, and that is:

Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 before you offer employment to a potential member of staff, certain checks must be carried out to ensure that they have a right to work in the United Kingdom (UK). These checks must be carried out for ALL staff, regardless of their nationality.

You must check and copy/record one of a number of specified documents (or two documents in a specified combination) from the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006  list A or list B. The documents in list A indicate that the holder is entitled to live and work in the UK indefinitely. These documents provide an ongoing excuse against payment of a civil penalty.

It is not sufficient to say that a recruitment agency must have checked the applicant because the agency is not the employer and may have missed a falsified document.  In fact I have twice been presented with fake passports by foreign workers which have presumably been ‘checked’ by an agency.

Immigration minister Mark Harper has just resigned from the government after it emerged his cleaner did not have permission to work in the UK.  There was no suggestion he had knowingly employed an illegal immigrant.  He had made checks when he first employed the cleaner in April 2007, taking a copy of her passport and a Home Office letter which stated she had the right to work in the UK.

Mark Harper has talked a lot about employers and landlords carrying out “reasonable checks” on workers and thought it right he should re-check his cleaner’s documents were in order but when his private office checked the details with immigration officials, it was found she did not have indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

Labour peer Baroness Scotland when she was Attorney General in 2009 and one of the drafters of the legislation, had similar difficulties with her housekeeper’s immigration status.  She was fined £5,000 for illegally employing an illegal immigrant, but did not resign over the matter.

Mr Harper launched a fleet of vans which were driven around parts of London carrying a message for illegal immigrants to “Go home or face arrest”.  At the start of this year, when work restrictions for Bulgarians and Romanians were lifted, Mr Harper insisted the benefits system had been “tightened up” so people coming to the UK did so to work, not claim benefits.

If you would like a copy of List A and List B and advice on checking documents, just get in touch and I will be pleased to help.