UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has amended its employer’s guide to right to work checks to provide further clarification for organisations unclear on migrant students' work rights.
Also included in the new guidance is a table which summarises employment permitted by international students.
One remaining issue for employers is how to make sure that migrant students are not breaching their conditions by inadvertently exceeding the limited number of hours that they can work per week.
Should an employer find itself in the position of having employed a student in breach of his or her conditions, this could result in:
- reputational damage;
- a £20,000 fine;
- possible prosecution; and
- action being taken against the sponsor licence (if the employer holds one).
The action taken against the employer should be proportionate to the offence and should take into account whether or not:
- this is a first offence;
- there are any mitigating circumstances; and
- any weaknesses have been addressed.
As part of their sponsor obligations and duties, Tier 4 sponsors are also obliged to report any Tier 4 Students who are working in breach of their visa conditions to UKVI. Where a Tier 4 sponsor is also employing international students, the HR team will need to work closely with its Tier 4 compliance team to ensure that students are not working in breach of their conditions of stay.