How to prepare
for an unannounced
compliance audit

With the government intent on reducing net migration to the UK, it is now more likely than ever that Tier 2 sponsors will be on the receiving end of Home Office spot-checks.

All UK employers of Tier 2 migrant workers have a duty to adhere to the UK Immigration Rules at all times. To this end, the Home Office aims to audit the compliance of every Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder at least once to ensure they are maintaining compliance across five key areas: monitoring immigration status, maintaining migrant data, record-keeping, migrant tracking and general sponsor duties.

There is no guarantee that the Home Office will contact you to arrange this audit; it is just as likely that their representatives will show up at your UK business premises without warning.

So how can you prepare for a Home Office compliance visit?

Ensuring that you are audit-ready is a matter of formalising processes, retaining documentation and monitoring migrant staff members.

Let’s take a look at some examples of best practice for key immigration compliance areas:

Keeping comprehensive records
A record of everything concerning a migrant employee’s UK immigration status, the process by which they were hired and their ongoing employment with the company should be kept on file. Copies of original documents should be retained and dated according to when they were first viewed and all information should be easily accessible.

Monitoring migrant employees
Ensure that a formal system is in place which records employee attendance and alerts you to any unauthorised employee absences. This will make it much easier for you to note any relevant absences and report them to the Home Office within 10 days of occurrence.

Formalising your processes
Having a process in place is not much use unless you can demonstrate that it is being followed via documentary evidence.  Make sure that you have formal policies and procedures which can be referred to by members of your organisation and presented to the Home Office should they wish to see them.

Staying up-to-date
The UK Immigration Rules are constantly evolving and undergo major change at least twice each year. Make sure that you remain compliant throughout the duration of your sponsor licence by amending your policies and procedures accordingly and seeking professional advice to make sure that nothing has evaded your attention.

Testing your procedures
Internal audits are extremely worthwhile exercises – they test your procedures from an objective viewpoint and often reveal gaps in your organisation’s compliance which you may not have noticed otherwise. We are frequently asked to conduct mock immigration audits on a sponsor’s immigration compliance and very often identify and advise on areas which are not yet up to scratch.

Contact us today for more information on your organisation should best prepare for a Home Office compliance visit.

More on Tier 2 sponsor compliance:

Your guide to a compliant Resident Labour Market Test

UK Immigration fees 2017/18

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