COVID-19 Fraud: New Taxpayer Protection Taskforce
Following the announcement in our Immigration Update on 3 November we have received further information relating to the proposal by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to introduce a Premium Service for trusted sponsors. The benefits include:-
The proposed annual fee for this service has increased to £25,000 from the £20,000 initially publicised. To cater for small to medium sized businesses who have paid the reduced licence fee, it is proposed that a reduced and targeted package of benefits will be available for a fee of £8,000.
For those sponsors who do not wish to sign up for these additional services the UKBA has stressed that the service they currently receive will not suffer a negative impact.
Full details as to the respective responsibilities of both the Sponsor and the UKBA have yet to be published but Kingsley Napley has concerns with regard to the potential impact on the existing service, in particular access to the Public Enquiry Office 24 hour service, where sponsors are already experiencing delays of up to one week in many cases. These concerns have been raised with the UKBA and we would welcome your views on these proposals so that we can provide feedback.
Unannounced UKBA compliance visits
Many clients will have received unannounced compliance visits by the UKBA which will often be a considerable inconvenience for the Authorising Officer and members of the HR team. We believe that many sponsors would prefer to approach the UKBA in order to set up a mutually convenient appointment and we have received confirmation that the UKBA will endeavour to facilitate this. Although this would not avoid future unannounced visits, at least sponsors will have the reassurance and confidence that all their HR systems for monitoring migrants are in order.
A worrying trend has also come to light whereby unannounced compliance officers are asking for information which we believe goes beyond what is necessary for immigration compliance. For example, details of sponsors' Business Continuity Plans and location of servers have been requested.
Kingsley Napley has therefore requested the UKBA to publish a list of requirements and to explain why the information is required, so that this information can be shared with sponsors. If you would prefer to arrange a UKBA visit please do contact Kingsley Napley to discuss further.
For further information, please contact: Nicolas Rollason.
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