How does remote working affect immigration compliance for sponsors?
Originally, immigration law involving sponsorship and sponsored workers was based on migrants working in offices. Now, the pandemic has changed the work dynamic and more people are working remotely, which begs the question, how does remote working affect immigration compliance for sponsors?
When employees are working from home, it can be difficult to track their productivity and whereabouts, however, sponsors must still adhere to their duties set out by the Home Office. The Home Office acknowledges that during this time, work life may have altered, so much so, that they have changed rules to fit around this such as not requiring sponsors to report when a worker is working from home.
As sponsors, employers have certain duties and responsibilities. They must monitor their employees’ immigration status, track attendance, keep up-to-date with employee details, report problems regarding the employee and inform the Home Office if the migrant worker is not complying to the conditions of their visa. All of which are more difficult to achieve when an individual is working remotely.
When employees are working away from the office, they are more likely to “go under the radar” and less likely to be carefully monitored by sponsors. Information such as a change of address can easily be missed when people are not communicating in the office every day. With a lot of companies, working remotely involves less communication and more independent working, which makes it more likely that records are not kept up to date.
How can sponsors avoid non compliance?
If the Home Office finds that sponsors are not complying with immigration rules, there can be severe penalties. Non compliance can be easily missed when employees are working from home. Sponsors must be more diligent in such cases. Frequent communication with migrant workers including “checking in” with them to make sure they are attending work will help to avoid non compliance. Verifying the individual’s personal details on a regular basis and making sure communication is via video or phone call rather than text or email will help to double check the employee is behind the screen.
Unfortunately with the nature of remote working, there will always be ways that people can deceive employers, however, active checks and diligence will help avoid problems for sponsors.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.
The information provided does not amount to legal advice.