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Home Office Compliance Visits Start to Bite | Immigration Matters

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Coping with a compliance visit from any official body, let alone the Home Office, can be a nightmare if not handled correctly. But the process need not be so stressful provided you are on the right side of the law.

Care Homes all over the UK are receiving letters, questionnaires and visits from the Borders and Immigration Agency’s (formerly Work Permits UK/Home Office) Compliance Department. In the meantime Work Permits and extensions are becoming increasingly harder to obtain, as rules are ‘reinterpreted’ by Work Permit case officers.

This double-whammy of tough new measures is making life extremely difficult for employers and overseas workers applying for work permits and leave to remain.

Earlier this year I reported that the Home Office had stepped up post-issue compliance checking and had cancelled several Work Permits where the terms and conditions of were not strictly followed.

In the run up to the Points Based System, which be implemented from January 2008, the Home Office are continuing to adopt a harder line. Overseas Nurses and Senior Carers are already being forced to leave the UK as Work Permit or Leave to Remain applications are being refused or cancelled following compliance checks.

What should you do if you receive a letter or visit from the Borders and Immigration Agency?

Here are three tips to help you through the process:

Cooperate

It almost goes without saying that you must cooperate with the Compliance Team, which will already have a lot of information on you and your overseas staff. You may receive a questionnaire asking for detailed information about your overseas staff and this should be taken very seriously.

Get your house in order

Make sure that your paperwork is complete for all overseas staff including Students, Work Permit holders, Dependants and Working Holiday Maker visa holders. Do you have copies of passports, Work Permits or Home Office correspondence on file for your overseas staff? Have you taken all the necessary steps to ensure they have the right to work in the UK? Are you paying the correct salaries and employing them in the right capacity? Remember to check back on old files to ensure visas and permits are still current.

Prepare for the Meeting

Like any other inspection, preparation is key. Make sure you have files, documents and any other requested information to hand prior to the meeting. The last thing you want to be doing is rushing about trying to find bits of paper or pulling out incomplete files.

Finally, remember that like any other inspectors they just people doing their job. And let’s face it, if you cannot cope with inspections by Government agencies you are probably in the wrong business!

Bison UK launches ‘File Check’ service

Bison Management has launched a new File Check service to help employers with overseas workers. The service will include a professional file and visa check to verify the ‘suitability to work’ of overseas workers including Work Permit holders and Students.

You can reach Bison UK on 020 8905 1822 or visit their website www.recruitnurse.com

If you should have any questions on working or studying in the UK email Charles Kelly info@immigrationmatters.co.uk.

For immigration updates see: www.immigrationmatters.co.uk

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