Immigration on the rise again
According to official figures released this week, the UK has reached a record number of 1.9 million Eastern Europeans working in the UK. The figures also show that since the restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians working in the UK were lifted last year, numbers have surged by a third.
The biggest influx was by migrants from eight east European states, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Baltic states. Numbers continued to rise with an increase of 15.7 per cent from 803,000 to 929,000 in the year January to March 2014 to the same period this year.
As immigrant workers are on the rise, the UK Border Agency will be cracking down on 'visa abusers'. This means that from an employment point of view, it is more crucial than ever for employers to make sure they aren't unintentionally employing illegal workers.
In addition, the figures showed a rising number of people from the original member states of the EU, such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain, working in Britain as well as an increase in workers requiring permits from Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
Employers have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that all their staff members have the right to work in the UK. As a result, it is vital that they understand the law, make proper checks on documentation and protect themselves from unwittingly employing illegal workers. MyHRdept suggest that the starting point for employers is to make sure that all applicants provide adequate documentation proving that they are allowed to work in the UK before the job begins – regardless of their nationality!
Employing workers who are not legally entitled to work in the UK can be a costly mistake. Fines can cost up to £10,000 per illegal employee, and it isn't just at the start of employment that employers need to be vigilant. Annual audits should be carried out to ensure documents such as visas are still in date and that copies of ID are held in each file.
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