The Immigration Minister Resigns (and the Importance of Keeping Accurate Records and Sense Checking Right To Work Documentation)
The news that the Immigration Minister Mark Harper has resigned due to an unfortunate right to work check issue should act as a reminder to us all.
It has been reported that Mr Harper recently discovered an irregularity with the documentation provided to him by his cleaner as evidence of her apparent indefinite leave to remain status. We understand that he had undertaken a repeat check after having mislaid the copies he originally took of her immigration documents when he first employed her - only for the Home Office to confirm that she did not in fact have indefinite leave. Mr Harper has reported the issue to the Prime Minister and resigned from his post. We should be clear that Mr Harper denies committing an immigration offence of any kind, presumably on the basis that that he originally believed the documentation was genuine and that he considers that his cleaner was self employed at all times.
As a reminder: employers should continue to undertake a check of documentation at the outset of employment and a further check at least once every 12 months for those migrants with temporary permission to work in the UK. These checks should be diarised and recorded correctly with copies kept. Importantly, employers should also ‘sense-check’ documents - make sure that names, photographs and dates of birth are consistent with the migrant, that expiry dates have not passed and confirm that the document appears to be genuine. Whilst the Home Office does not (yet) expect employers to be forensic experts, basic errors or issues that they should have spotted will not be easily forgiven.
If you have any concerns regarding the correct process to follow or if you find issues with any employee’s documents then please do contact our business immigration team.
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