By Charles Kelly
11 July 2008
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) is carrying out post permit compliance checks on employers on Senior Carer pay, some three months after the issue of a Work Permit extension.
The UKBA ‘Sponsor Management Unit’, based in Bedford, sent a letter to one of our Nursing Home clients with the following demand:
We require you to send the documents listed below within 14 days to the above address in order to confirm that the work permits holder named below is in receipt of the salary agreed in the work permit application.
The documents required are three month’s pay slips for the Senior Carer, presumably to check if she is receiving the “going rate” £7.02 per hour.
The letter continues:
The purpose of these checks are to maintain confidence in the work permit arrangements and help us to ensure that we develop robust procedures to scrutinise future applications. These checks help us to verify the information and declarations made on your application forms were an accurate reflection of the conditions of employment.
In plain English, this means they want to check that you have told the truth on the form.
This is part of the post work permit checking process which has been introduced over the last year or so. Hundreds of newly recruited compliance officers are busy going through files and visiting Care Homes to ensure everyone is playing by the rules.
I have come across a number of Senior Carers who have been asked by their employer to enter into ‘under the table’ arrangements in order to get around the Government imposed minimum salary.
Basically, the employer pulls the care worker to one side and says something along the lines of:
“The Home Office wants us to pay you £7.02 per hour. We cannot afford this, so we will put down on paper that we are paying you £7.02 per hour or even actually pay you this amount, however, we will claw this back from you by increasing your hours (without paying you), or come to some other deal whereby we are not out of pocket”.
My advice to them and employers is not to make these arrangements, which break all the rules and will most likely backfire on you. Any attempt to ‘pull the wool’ over the UKBA eyes could result in the work permit being cancelled, the Employer fined and possibly even banned from applying for work permits in the future.
The overseas worker could find themselves and their family being removed from the UK and banned from coming back.
Even if the worker slips through the compliance net, the deception may come to light when applying for ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ some years later. At this point they will be refused and could be removed from the UK leaving all their hard work and plans in tatters.
The final paragraph of the letter states:
UKBA do have the authority to revoke work permits and curtail the leave to remain of individuals if the company is found to be non-compliant with the work permit scheme.
Many workers have felt compelled to take part in these deals because they think they have no other choice. However, there are employers who are willing to pay £7.02 per hour and more, with no strings attached.