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Prevention of Illegal Working Check - Changes to the right to work document checks employers must carry out prior to employment.
Changes were introduced by the Home Office in an attempt to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to obtain employment using fraudulent documentation. The Home Office released further guidance at the end of July to provide further clarification on a number of points in the original guidance. One of the changes clarified is that all non EEA passports containing endorsements showing the holder has indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK must be current and in date.
This is a move away from being able to present old ILR endorsements in expired passports alongside current passports. This means that the majority of passports endorsed with wet ink stamps or paper vignettes, both of which have not been issued for over 10 years, will no longer provide statutory excuse in the event of the passport or endorsement being a forgery. The holders continue to have the right to remain and work in the UK, and the official Government website (www.gov.uk) confirms it is not a mandatory requirement to transfer ILR into a current passport.
The new Home Office stance on prevention of illegal working is however different and they are advising that in order for an employer to obtain statutory excuse the holder of such permits must now apply to transfer their ILR status to a biometric residence permit (BRP) at the cost of £107. As soon as the application for a BRP has been made the employer should obtain confirmation of this using the Home Office Employer Checking Service.
What this means for employers
Individuals who have indefinite leave to remain status endorsed in a passport that has expired will continue to hold this immigration status which entitles them to settlement in the UK and full unrestricted access to the UK labour market. However holding a copy of an endorsement in an expired passport will no longer provide statutory excuse in the event that the holder is found to be working illegally i.e. the endorsement is a forgery.
Failure to comply could make an employer subject to a £20,000 penalty for each migrant worker in their employ.
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