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Preparing for a Home Office Compliance visit? Find out top tips

There are no fixed rules as to what is specifically assessed during an audit or what type of system systems should be in place. However, audits are generally designed to assess if the company's systems are robust enough to ensure they meet their obligations as a sponsor under the PBS.

This means that the auditor's and the audit process expectations would differ from company to company; essentially hinged on accessing whether or not the systems in place allows the sponsor to meet their obligations as a sponsor. By implication, what this means is that compliance systems in place for a small business employing just 1 overseas worker may differ from what is expected from a business with over 50 overseas workers. The nature of the business may also be a factor here is determining what will be accessed by the Home Office.

How you will be assessed

  1. Monitoring immigration status and preventing illegal working
  2. Maintaining migrant contact information
  3. Record keeping
  4. Tracking daily attendance of migrants
  5. Recruitment

The Immigration Audit timeline

  1. Notification of an immigration audit: - This is the first stage of the audit visit from the Home office and it involves the Sponsorship compliance unit of the Home Office formally informing you in writing of an impending audit. The notification will be sent to the contact person that was provided when you applied for your sponsorship license. It is not uncommon for compliance officers to look at arranging a mutually convenient time for both parties.

Please note that unannounced compliance visits from the Home Office are now becoming a common trend. Unannounced audits before now used to be only when there is an intelligence of some scrupulous activities going on within the company with regards to illegal working. However, we have not noticed that even where there are no intelligence to the Home Office, they may still proceed with visiting the business premises of the sponsor to carry out immigration compliance activities.

It is therefore important that the HR systems within the organisation should be set up and continually managed in such a way that is able to withstand an unannounced visit from the Home Office.

  1. Preparing for the immigration audit: - In the weeks leading up to the immigration audit, it is important that you put together and organise in a transparent and easily accessible manner the records of all the migrant workers in your establishment. As mentioned previously, there is no fixed design of the organisation of records; it all boils down to how well the information that need to be access is organised and accessed as well as the technique for reminders. It may also include the procedures for handling a migrant switch from been legally able to work to not been legally able to work.

Please be advised that if the home office's compliance team find it not too easy to review your records, this may result in the UKBA declaring your business "partially compliant" or "non-compliant".

  1. Audit day: - On the day of the immigration audit, the UKBA compliance officer will request for your records, policies as well as review your systems. This is to determine whether or not the system is robust enough, organised and easily accessible to the immigration compliance officer.

In most cases, they may ask to speak to the migrant workers, colleagues and staff members involved in the recruitment and placement process.

Please note that the UKBA compliance officer or team will not tell the company been audited the outcome of the audit at the time of the audit.

  1. After the immigration audit: - The UKBA will send a summarised report of the immigration audit process that was carried out in the business premises. The report will not only mention the decision of the Home Office, it will also reflect any issues and improvements necessary for the business.

Our business immigration experts boast over 40 years combined experience in business immigration, assisting both assisted both large corporations and SME's with mock audits. Contact us today for a free assessment on 02037442797 or send us an email on info@reissedwards.com.

 

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