The government is currently consulting on new legislation which will shift the administrative and cost burden to businesses of checking whether an overseas national is entering the country legitimately.

This will be of relevance to those responsible for organising:

  • professional and amateur sporting events with overseas participants;
  • entertainment and cultural events with overseas participants; or
  • work or study courses for overseas migrants.

Under the current proposals, for every relevant individual entering the country, a 'sponsor' would be required to:

  • obtain a copy of their passport;
  • obtain details of their visiting addresses;
  • obtain a bank statement to verify their financial status;
  • pay fees to sponsor the relevant individual's entry;
  • fulfil certain obligations when the relevant individual is in the country; and
  • issue a Certificate of Sponsorship to each relevant individual.

The consultation closes on 10 March 2008 and many of these proposed new laws could be in force by September 2008.

There is an opportunity for affected parties to respond to the consultation setting out any concerns or comments.

The current proposals will also impact upon recruitment. In many instances, advertisements will need to be placed in a publication available in all European Economic Area countries.

The penalities for employers failing to comply with their new obligations could be as much as £10,000 per illegal employee or even criminal sanctions in some cases.

Please also note that new laws come into force on 29 February 2008 for those employing highly skilled migrant workers, categorised as Tier 1 Skilled Workers, under the new 5 tier points based system. To view please click here.

Please contact us if you require any further information.