What is the new procedure?
Previously, people applying to come to the UK had their passports endorsed with details of their right to remain in the UK. The visa stamp contained details of the length of their visa and an employer had to take a copy of this when the person started employment.
Under the new procedure, the visa stamp will no longer contain details of the length of the individual's visa. Instead, it will only grant them a right of entry to the UK for 30 days. Once they use this visa to enter the UK they will have 10 working days to collect a Biometric Residence Card from a designated collection point, which will usually be a post office near their home or work address.
The new procedure only applies to staff applying from outside the UK and it does not apply to people who will be staying in the UK for less than 6 months, for example business visitors.
Why is this change happening?
Under EU law, the UK must issue everyone who is granted a right to remain for more than 6 months with standard documents. People who apply for visas from inside the UK are already issued with biometric cards so this change will ensure consistency between entry clearance and leave to remain procedures.
What are the consequences of non compliance?
If someone does not collect their Biometric Card within 10 working days the Home Office can cancel the card and force them to apply for another. If the person repeatedly fails to collect the Biometric Card the Home Office can cancel their visa and their right to work in the UK.
What should employers do?
All employers who hire staff from abroad will require to amend their procedures for checking if the new employee has the right to work.
While employees who hold an entry permit will be allowed to start work, the employer will need to carry out a second check to ensure that the Biometric Card has been collected, and they should retain a copy of the card.
If an employer does not carry out the second check they will not have a statutory excuse if the employee is found to be working illegally and could be subject to sanctions from the Home Office.
Morton Fraser offers an Immigration Compliance Audit Service and can assist you with your procedures regarding compliance. For further information on the new procedure, checking the right to work and visa applications please contact Stuart McWilliams or Averil Trimble.