Cult Burger brand’s fortunes flipped overnight as a result of immigration sting
The first shots have been fired in the run up to formal Brexit talks. The prime minister, Mrs. Theresa May is determined to ‘control our borders’, which is evident from the recent raid on a popular UK based hamburger chain with a £70million turnover, Byron Burgers.
The newspapers have been flooded with widespread news on Byron Burgers who were subject to an immigration sting. During the raid carried out by the UKVI, 35 staff members of the restaurant chain were arrested as a result of working illegally and breaching UK immigration laws.
During the ‘raid’ a number of nationals from Albania, Brazil, Egypt and Nepal were arrested on suspicion of providing Byron Burger with counterfeit immigration documents. Due to Byron Burger co-operating with the Home Office and carrying out the ‘Right to Work Checks’ they will not face civil penalty action, which would have amounted to £700,000.
The chain subsequently came under heavy criticism who invited some of its migrant workers to a ‘training day’ only to hand them over to the UKVI for deportation. All too happy to make money off the back of migrant workers, before it betrayed them in a stitch up with the UKVI.
Taking the above into consideration, we urge all our clients to ensure that they carry out the relevant right to work checks, confirming that they can employ non-EU nationals to avoid being penalized. As a UK based employer, it is your duty to ensure that everyone you are employing has the right to reside and work in the UK legally. Failure to do is likely to have huge impact on the businesses’ reputation amongst financial penalties being levied by the UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI).
If you are unsure on what needs to be done, we can offer full support and guidance to ensure you are on the right side of law.
How to carry out the ‘Right to Work’ check
You must check that a job applicant is allowed to work for you in the UK before you employ them. You must have sight of and keep record of the following: –
- The applicant’s original documents e.g. passport and appropriate UK visa/BRP card.
- check that the documents are valid in the applicant’s presence.
- make and keep copies of the above documents and record the date you made the check along with your signature.
What do I need to check?
You need to check that:
- the documents are genuine, original and unchanged and belong to the person who has given them to you.
- the dates for the applicant’s right to work in the UK haven’t expired.
- photos are the same across all documents and look like the applicant.
- dates of birth are the same across all documents.
- the applicant has permission to do the type of work you’re offering (including any limit on the number of hours they can work).
- for students you see evidence of their study and vacation times.
- if two documents give different names, the applicant has supporting documents showing why they’re different, e.g. a marriage certificate or divorce decree.
What evidence do I need to show that I have conducted the checks?
You must ensure that you take copies of the document you have seen which prove a person’s right to work in the UK. When you make copies of the documents, you must ensure that:-
- you make a copy that cannot be changed, i.e. a photocopy.
- for passports, copy any page with the expiry date and applicant’s details (e.g. nationality, date of birth and photograph) including endorsements, e.g. a work visa.
- for biometric residence permits and residence cards (biometric format), copy both sides.
- for all other documents you must make a complete copy.
- keep copies during the applicant’s employment and for 2 years after they stop working for you.
- record the date the check was made.
It is important that copies of all documents are stored away safely and securely and that they are only accessed by those permitted to do so, in-line with Data Protection laws.
What if the employee cannot produce their documents?
If you find you are in this situation, you can contact the Home Office and they should be able to verify the person’s immigration status.
There are also online tools available to help you determine whether you can hire someone or if they can continue working with you.
Alternatively, a legal representative should be able to establish the person’s right to work in the UK and advise on action required, if any.
What if I hire someone who is in the UK illegally?
If you hire someone who does not have the right to be or work in the UK, you could be subject to Civil Penalty, this fine is payable if you are unable to show the Home Office that you conducted all the correct checks as required to do so. If you failed to carry out the relevant checks, you would be issued with an unlimited fine which must be paid.
Companies who hold a sponsor licence in the UK will also face the licence being downgraded which would result in not being able to hire Non-EU skilled workers, or the licence being revoked, which would mean that any sponsored workers would have their visa curtailed.
Hiring a migrant who does not have permission to work in the UK will cause the business harm and extortionate penalties, so don’t get caught out by this and ensure that you have systems in place to prevent illegal working.
At Hudson McKenzie we eliminate such risks for our clients by ensuring the have the relevant systems in place and also by offering a personal service, where they can reach out to us assist with ensuring all staff and new hires are permitted to work in the UK.
If you have questions or are unsure about anything, please contact our team of immigration lawyers who would be happy to help.
You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)20 3318 5794.