Virginia, US

Aug 14 2019

New Guidance for Record Maintenance for Tier 2 Sponsoring Employers

United Kingdom

At a Glance

  • According to revised guidelines issued by the Home Office, Tier 2 sponsors must now create a record of when their sponsored employees entered the United Kingdom within 30 days of the start of the visa’s validity period.
  • This will particularly impact employers of ePassport gate users, for whom the employer will need to affirmatively confirm the employee’s entry date since there is no paper record of this when using the ePassport service.

The situation

According to revised guidelines issued by the Home Office, Tier 2 sponsors must now create and maintain a record of when their sponsored employees entered the United Kingdom. Previously, they were not required to retain evidence of the date of entry to the United Kingdom. Employers are still required to maintain a copy of the individual’s right to work documentation.

Impact

  • ePassport gates users. Employers of foreign workers who used ePassport gates to enter the United Kingdom are most impacted by this guidance change, as they will need to affirmatively confirm the employee’s entry date since there is no paper record of this when using the ePassport gate to enter. Per the guidance, the employer must create a record of this within 30 days of the start of the visa’s validity period through an online or paper record – the guidance does not specify the type of record to be maintained.
  • Non-ePassport gates users. Where a foreign national enters the United Kingdom using non ePassport gates, they receive a date stamp at the port of entry which is placed within their passport. Employers only need to maintain a copy of this when completing the right to work check. As such, the impact for this group is much less significant.

 

Background

  • System description. ePassport gates are an automated border control system operated by the UK Border Force located at immigration checkpoints that offer streamlined entry using facial recognition technology to verify the user’s identify against data stored in their passport.
  • Latest ePassport news. Since June 2019, eligible travelers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States have been eligible to use ePassport gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals in Brussels and Paris, allowing for faster entry. Additionally, eligible UK, European Economic Area and Swiss nationals, and nationals of the above-listed countries enrolled in the Registered Traveller service can use the ePassport gates.

 

Looking ahead

Despite the UK government’s intentions to reduce migration, some sources project that there will in fact be a rise in migrants to the United Kingdom after Brexit. If this occurs, the UK government may widen the use of e-gates and in turn, impose additional stricter documentary requirements on employers to continue to pass the burden to check immigration status to employers, as the UK government has already started to do through the use of right to work checks.

This means employers should be prepared for stricter documentary retention requirements after Brexit.

For more information, please visit Fragomen's dedicated Brexit site, which contains news, FAQs, and analysis/commentary in the form of blogs, videos, webcasts and events.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to londoninfo@fragomen.com.