Do you have migrant staff? Are you 100% sure they are all employed lawfully and that you are fully compliant with employer obligations? You’d be surprised just how many employers we see who are putting themselves at risk.
One of the biggest issues we see in businesses is the employer who receives a job application from a fabulous onshore candidate who happens to be on an open work visa. They show you their passport with the visa label and you think all of your Sundays have come at once. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself how that person got an open work visa and what the conditions of that visa might be. You won’t find it on the visa label, in fact visa labels have been phased out now so you can’t even check that. In many cases open work visas are linked to the partners of the person holding the open work visa. Which begs the next question, do you know the visa status of the partner of your fabulous candidate?
Time after time, after conducting due diligence we find employees in breach of their work visa conditions because their partners have failed exam papers at University or Polytechnic, lost their jobs, their hours have been cut by their employer to below the minimum visa requirement or they have changed employers, jobs, locations without informing immigration by making a new visa application. When the partner breaches their visa conditions, your employee breaches their conditions and as a consequence you are breaking the law.
The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has been clamping down on non-compliant employers and recent high profile cases of multinational employers being publicly named and shamed and banned from hiring migrants have graced the headlines.
In these cases, what makes it even more interesting (and risky) is that the employers were banned from hiring migrant staff for breaches that did not involve migrants at all. Breaches of employer legislation not only carry with them the risk of losing the right to hire migrants, but they can also severely damage your brand and ultimately your bottom line.
Unfortunately, another situation we come across is where a migrant approaches an employer needing to apply for a work visa. Often the story will consist of the migrant saying things such as “I just need you to sign this form, the visa will only take one week to process, I already have a visa processing at Immigration and can swap my job.” In reality what can and often does happen is, Immigration asks you as the employer to provide a full profit and loss for the last financial year, bank statements, IRD summary of earnings for all staff and the very risky time and wage records (very few employers actually meet this onerous and not well known requirement).
If any of this sounds difficult or depressing, it doesn’t have to be. With the right advice and the right systems and processes in place, it can all be managed successfully, leaving you to enjoy the benefits of your new hire.
Call us today on 07 974 2313 to see how we can help you manage your HR and Immigration Compliance risk.