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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Immigration in the UK, or what?

Doctor Biz
(Filed: 25/04/2005)

A cure for your corporate headaches

Can I employ workers from the new EU countries?

I run a chain of restaurants. We have recently employed a number of workers from Poland. I assumed that, as Poland is now part of the European Union, these workers have an automatic right to work legally in the UK.

If only it were that simple. It is a criminal offence to employ anyone who does not have the right to work legally in the UK. If you do, you could face a penalty of up to £5,000 for each illegal worker you employ.

A defence is if you can prove that, before employment began, you made basic document checks to verify the identity of the prospective employees and their right to work legally.

The Home Office issues a list of documents which will satisfy this requirement (eg, a UK or European Economic Area (EEA) passport). You must be reasonably satisfied that the prospective employee is the rightful holder of the original documents presented to you and you should keep complete copies.

With regard to your new recruits from Poland, the UK government has imposed some restrictions on the right of the European Union's newest citizens to work in the UK. These restrictions will last until at least 2009.

All nationals from the new member states are free to work legally in the UK but, with the exception of Cyprus and Malta, they are required to register under the "Workers Registration Scheme". You should check that your new recruits register under the scheme within one month of starting and keep a copy of their registration certificate.

Tracy Yates, employment partner at law firm Eversheds

From the Telegraph

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