Further to my colleague Gemma Tracey’s recent article considering sponsor duties in relation to absences, today we’ll be looking at record-keeping duties.
Whilst on the surface many HR processes may allow a company to automate record-keeping, being aware of exactly how records are kept and exactly where they are can trip many businesses up if the Home Office chooses to conduct a compliance visit. Being able easily to access organised records can make a compliance visit go smoothly.
What needs to be recorded?
As explained in our previous article, the date that a migrant worker begins their role with a business should be reported. Organisations that hold a sponsor licence are also required to report to the Home Office if a worker has not attended or started work within 10 working days.
In addition to retaining information about the start date, if a migrant worker has secured entry clearance to take up sponsored work in the UK, organisations must retain information in relation to the date that they enter the UK, and must secure proof of their entry (such a visa stamp); this should be kept on the worker’s HR file.
A robust system which records expiry dates of leave to remain for any migrant worker will be useful to demonstrate to the Home Office that you are aware of your duties as a sponsor. This will help to prevent an employer being unaware that a migrant’s leave has expired and no longer has the right to work.
Clear records will also need to be maintained that cover the dates of annual leave a migrant worker has taken, as well as any sickness days taken. This is because those sponsoring workers must be aware of where their sponsored workers are, and will need to evidence this to a Home Office official if a compliance visit is conducted.
It is extremely important that those holding a sponsor licence ensure that it retains documents in relation to its sponsor licence and its sponsored workers.
Organisations must retain a copy of the documents used as part of their application to become a licensed sponsor. These documents must be held for as long as the organisation holds a sponsor licence.
If a sponsored role has been advertised, evidence relating to the recruitment activity undertaken must be retained, as this will help to prove that the role is a genuine vacancy. This usually involves retaining screenshots of the advert, information about where the job was advertised and for how long, and then information about the applications received and interviews conducted. Latitude Law can provide organisations with a useful document to assist with recording this information.
The payslips issued to sponsored workers must also be retained, together with evidence of salary payments, the worker’s contract, documents relating to any allowances the worker receives, and documents relating to any relevant qualifications or accreditations the worker has that are relevant to the role. This is in addition to a detailed job description which outlines the duties and responsibilities of the post, and the skills, qualifications and experience required.
Depending on what route the worker is being sponsored under, additional documents may also need to be retained by the sponsoring organisation.
Most of the documents which relate to a sponsored worker must be retained by the sponsoring organisation for at least one year after sponsorship has ended.
In order to secure a sponsor licence – or to prove to the Home Office that a licence should not be revoked – organisations must prove that they follow organised and clear systems in relation to their workers. This will involve them proving that key dates and documents are retained for their workers, and that they will be in a position to comply with their sponsor duties going forward.
Evidence that a legal right to work check has been undertaken must be retained for all employees (not just sponsored workers). The way such checks are undertaken has changed recently; see our previous article about right to work checks.
Latitude Law’s specialist team helps many international businesses and organisations with the sponsorship of workers in the UK. If you would like to speak to one of our experts concerning sponsorship duties, or would like to assess the systems you have in place by conducting a mock compliance visit, call us now on 0032 2792 3371 (for EU-based clients) or 0044 161 234 6800 (UK & rest of the world) or complete our online enquiry form.