Right to work in the UK and the prevention of illegal workers is becoming a hot topic in the recruitment industry. As Britain moves towards its exit from the EU, there is a great deal of uncertainty around the future of Right to Work and the future use of EU migrants in the temporary labour market. The potential outcome is to see a huge rise in the number of candidates working illegally in the UK, creating a huge unregulated time bomb for businesses.
Illegal working has damaging social and economic consequences for the UK. It undercuts businesses that stay within the law, undercuts British workers, and exploits foreign workers. If there are opportunities to work illegally, the UK will be an attractive place for illegal migrants.
Did you know, more than £20m in fines were paid by Public and Private Sector Organisations for failing to carry out adequate checks to verify candidates’ right to work in the UK? This is based on data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. On top of that, since the introduction of the civil penalties by the UK Border Agency back in 2014, over 5,500 cases have been issued, amounting to over £53m in fines.
Failure to comply could mean costly fines for the agencies, set by the UKBA, of up to £10,000 per worker. So how do you, as a business, stop it from affecting you?
Education – By ensuring staff have the requisite skills and knowledge to recognise and prevent fraudulent documentation, businesses are taking the first step in mitigating the risk to themselves both on an ethical and legal basis. Training can range from recognising fraudulent documentation, to specific knowledge around visa’s and Right to Work in the UK. Educating and upskilling staff in the prevention of illegal workers will help your business to mitigate risk, both on a financial and reputational basis.
Having industry experts to help you – There are plenty of them out there, from legal consultants to specific temporary recruitment and direct hire companies, there is help out there when it comes to screening candidates. They should also be able to help you stay compliant in the wider recruitment field, with worker rights relating to health and safety at work, general rights and obligations, specific risks, vulnerable workers and a host of other employment related issues.
Having a technology solution which helps to protect you – Prevention of Illegal Workers can be a huge administrative burden, especially to businesses hiring large numbers of casual workers. Finding a technology solution can help to alleviate the stress associated with compliance. Neuven’s Venneu® and Venloc® systems have built in compliance modules which do a lot of the work for you. For more information on the systems click here
Ensuring the agencies are fully compliant – Whilst at first this can appear out of your scope to worry about, once a temporary agency candidate is placed on site, they are your responsibility. Ensuring your supply chain is compliant is a key step in helping protect your business. If you don’t have an inhouse audit team it is definitely worth looking for an audit solution to suit your needs.
Neuven, in 2016, carried out over 2500 audits nationwide, ensuring clients gained the highest possible level of compliance and protecting clients from potential reputational hazards. Neuven auditors uncovered over 1100 failures in critical areas and 15 illegal workers.
On average 34% of suppliers audited by Neuven’s compliance team have operational failures requiring a re-audit. Over 10% of the candidate files Neuven audited have some form of fraudulent documentation. All of which is exposing businesses to unnecessary risk and uncertainty over their future. Contact us for more information on how our Neuven can help your business.