Posted by Richard Woodman, Partner
Government extends criminal record checks to Tier 2
There have been a number of high profile cases where migrants have entered the UK without proper background checks. The Government is extending its requirement for criminal record checks to Tier 2 visa applicants, in an attempt to be seen to be protecting the public from ‘unsuitable’ people from outside the EU.
From April 2017, skilled overseas job applicants seeking work in the education, health and social care sectors will be required to provide criminal record certificates as part of the visa application process. So what do employers planning to sponsor skilled workers need to know?
Added responsibility for employers
The new requirement will impact Tier 2 visa applicants in these sectors, who have been provided with a certificate of sponsorship in or after January 2017 and are applying for entry clearance after April 2017. Applicants in this category must obtain and present a criminal record certificate from any country they have lived in for 12 months or more in the past 10 years. They will also need to provide a certificate for their adult dependants coming to work in the UK.
This change will impact both public and private employers who are planning to sponsor skilled workers, including many hospitals, care homes, schools, colleges and universities. To comply with UK immigration rules, it will be mandatory for these employers to inform Tier 2 applicants whether they will need to provide an overseas criminal record certificate once a certificate of sponsorship is issued. If employers do not comply, visa applications could be rejected which in turn could lead to additional recruitment and resourcing issues.
Planning to sponsor a Tier 2 applicant?
If you are impacted by the extended requirement, it’s important to take appropriate action now. Get in touch with any prospective overseas employee who will be applying for entry into the UK after April 2017, let them know about the new requirement and ask them to get their criminal record certificate in good time. As part of your discussions, be clear about who will fund the certificate(s) and any associated costs such as translation into English. Any action taken should form part of your usual pre-employment checks.
We’ll be watching the implementation of the Tier 2 requirement with interest and whether it extends to further sectors. We will also be monitoring whether the Government further extends requirements permitting Europeans to work in the UK.
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