Immigration for Doctors – Sponsorship Duties
My remark in a previous note about doctors becoming part of the UK’s immigration control infrastructure excited some interest and concern. I acknowledge there is sometimes a counter-cultural dimension to this sort of regulatory compliance but like it or not, there’s no escaping it.
Arguably the core statement in the Home Office guidance to sponsors is:
As a licensed sponsor, you will benefit directly from migration and we expect you to play your part in ensuring the system is not abused…The objectives of these duties are to:
- prevent abuse of assessment procedures
- capture early any patterns of migrant behaviour that may cause concern
- address possible weaknesses in process which can cause those patterns
- monitor compliance with Immigration Rules
In practice you must keep records, report information or events, comply with immigration law and co-operate with the Home Office.
Record keeping means taking and retaining a copy of a sponsored migrant’s passport, worker authorisation or UK immigration status document and biometric identity card (the residence permit) and UK residential address and telephone numbers. This data must be kept up-to-date and of course it must be held securely.
Reporting duties are where effective HR management comes in. Amongst a range of requirements you must make a report to the Home Office within 10 working days:
- if the sponsored migrant doesn’t turn up for their first working day and say why;
- if the sponsored migrant’s employment ends before the expiry of the Certificate of Sponsorship (whether by resignation or dismissal) and details of any new employer;
- of absences exceeding 10 working days without permission;
- if there are significant changes in the sponsored migrant’s circumstances including promotion, change in job title or duties, change in salary (other than routine annual reviews) and changes in the place of work;
- of changes in your Practice through significant organic growth, altered focus, merger or demerger and changes affected by TUPE.
Some of this doesn’t come naturally to the medical profession but compliance is essential. The Home Office can and does carry out compliance inspections. Typically these will include examination of HR systems for evidence of compliance with the monitoring and reporting of relevant activity, inspection of your premises, interviewing migrant workers and interviewing staff involved in the recruitment of migrants and the management of your sponsorship obligations. An inspection is also likely to include a review of compliance with the general duty to prevent illegal working.
If you’re recruiting a nurse or midwife trained outside the EEA, the candidate must pass the NMC test of competence then the UK OSCE test. There are several other requirements including an up-to-date English language test certificate if the candidate is from a non-English speaking territory, 12 months practical post-qualification experience and educational and registration conditions. Note that where an English language test is required, certificates are only valid if issued following a specified test at a Home Office approved test centre. This is a field in which ‘dodgy’ practice is not uncommon and care is indicated to ensure the appropriate test has been taken and passed.
As ever, Trethowans will help keep you on the straight and narrow path of immigration compliance.
Healthcare at Trethowans
Whether it involves public or private sector, the healthcare industry brings its own challenges. Here at Trethowans, we are fortunate to have a team of specialist lawyers drawn from key legal disciplines, such as James Humphery, and each with many years’ experience. To find out more information, please contact Partner, Guy Morgan on 01722 426931.