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Ask the expert: Managing a compliant recruitment process in uncertain times

Published: Thursday February 28, 2019

In the next instalment of our ‘Ask the Expert’ series, our partner, NorthRow, gives an insight into the challenges of keeping your UK employment processes compliant

 

Q1. Why is Right to Work compliance such a challenge for UK employers?

Seismic geopolitical issues such as Brexit, evolving legislation and general uncertainty are all big concerns for UK employers right now.

There is an increasing need to ensure employees have the right credentials and documentation to work in the business. Regardless of how Brexit will play out, the trend is towards much tighter restrictions on employment.

Of course, the burden falls on the employer, with certain sectors particularly impacted. Businesses with high staff turnovers, industries with a transitory or seasonal workforce, and those that employ part-time staff and students are likely to be most at risk.

When faced with increasing complexity and a diverse workforce, it’s very difficult for certain sectors, such as hospitality, construction, retail and healthcare, to manage a hiring process across multiple locations, that relies on manual verification processes.

Employers will be expected to have greater assurance around their employees’ Right to Work in the UK, and solutions like NorthRow’s Right to Work application help ensure hiring managers can onboard their staff efficiently, whilst reducing cost and helping ensure the highest compliance standards are met.

Q2. What are the consequences of employing someone who does not have the Right to Work in the UK?

Firstly, there are penalties set by the UK Government which will be levied “if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ didn’t have the right to work in the UK.”

Legally it’s the employer’s responsibility and non-compliance can result in fines of up to £20,000 per worker found not to have the right to work in the UK. Perhaps what is more serious, is the long-term potential of reputational damage to their brand. UK Visas and Immigration has been known to undertake raids leading to high profile negative media coverage when companies are found to be in breach.

One of the key drivers of the Brexit campaign was to limit the ‘free movement of people’ in the UK, so it’s highly likely there’ll be an increased focus on this area in the months and years to come.

Q3. How can employers prepare for Brexit?

In all the potential scenarios currently being discussed by the government, increased responsibility on employers to ensure employees have a Right to Work in the UK factors highly.

Putting processes in place is the first step to help ensure you decrease the risk of non-compliance. Increased regulatory enforcement will increase the HR burden of checking and rechecking employees and potential recruits, ID documents and data. Implementing robust technology to automate Right to Work checks and to manage the increased paperwork will be critical if firms want to ensure they can cope.

At the very least it is time to start ensuring that:

  • You know the identity and nationality of your employees
  • You have a validated Visa for non-nationals and that you can be alerted automatically when their Visa is due to run out, in time for them to re-apply
  • You understand what arrangements need to be made to validate Right to Work in the UK
  • You have a comprehensive audit trail that verifies you have undertaken checks correctly.

Q4. How important is the role of technology in pre-employment screening?

Technology is extremely important when we consider how efficient Smartphone based applications can be. Smartphones remove the need to photocopy ID Documents, as their inbuilt cameras are a perfect way to collect and send photos of Passport, BRPs, National ID cards and Visa. Cloud-based encrypted technology also removes the need to store multiple confidential/sensitive ID documents physically.

As Smartphones are ubiquitous, it is possible to undertake checks remotely without the need for hardware devices like passport scanners.

Key benefits include:

  • Instant result on device without the need to refer for confirmation
  • Enables you to truly know who your employees are and if they have the Right to Work in the UK
  • Ensure documents captured are genuine, reducing your risk of fraud.
  • Full audit trail to demonstrate compliance
  • Technology is always up-to-date with the latest legislation, ensuring ongoing compliance and no need for your HR team to be left in the dark
  • No training needed
  • Firms will have a 'Statutory Excuse' that they have fulfilled their obligations to UK Visas and Immigration
  • Automated Right to Work compliance streamlines the employee onboarding processes, saving time and money.

GBG and NorthRow have joined forces to provide employers with an app-based solution to manage employees’ Right to Work status and get ahead of Brexit. Read the full announcement here.

Find out more about how our combined technology can help your business, email employ.comply@gbgplc.com.