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Keeping up with new immigration laws affecting our workers

I went to a most informative seminar this morning at law firm Mishcon de Reya on the new points-based immigration system that is being phased in at the moment. As a recruitment agency employing temporary workers it's essential for us to be clued up on immigration law to ensure that we are not accidentally falling foul of any immigration rules or employing  workers illegally. Not only is this a legal obligation but part of our duty of care to clients and candidates alike.

I have been surprised in the year that I've been working here to see what an onerous burden that is and how much of my time as information manager has been spent tracking changes to immigration laws or clarifying points with the Home Office.

Part of the problem seems to me that the Home Office itself is unable to give clear and consistent guidance, nor is information being published on their website in a timely fashion for the new points-based system. For example, Tier 5 Youth Mobility Scheme opens for applications on 27 November, yet the list of sponsor countries is not yet available. The Australian and NZ press have run articles saying that  workers in the YMS scheme may work for the full 24 months of their visa (instead of 12/24 for current working holidaymakers) yet the Home Office is currently unable to confirm or deny that.

Clearly it's the responsibility of all employers to ensure they are compliant with the immigration rules but surely the government has an equal responsibility to us all to ensure that relevant information is provided in a clear and simple to understand format?

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