As an Early Years employer tapping into the diverse talent pool of international students can bring numerous advantages to your setting. However, employing international students can also bring risks if you do not have the necessary right to work procedures in place or if you breach the terms of their visa.
Increases in fines from 2024
These risks will significantly increase in January 2024, where businesses employing a worker without the appropriate right to work will be liable to pay fines starting at £45,000 per worker – up from the £15,000 penalty that currently can be levied for a first breach. Repeat offenders can anticipate fines of £60,000 per illegal worker they employ.
With this mind, now is ideal opportunity for you to review your right to work processes before the new penalties take effect.
Although you are not an international student’s sponsor for immigration purposes, you are required under legislation to carry out the usual pre-employment right to work checks. These are must request evidence of the right to work:
- From immigration documents;
- By using the Home Office online right to work service;
- Where applicable, using a digital identity checking service provider.
You will also need to ensure that they have taken copies of the evidence provided and retain this evidence before the student starts employment.
Diarising the dates
Employing an international student will also involve ensuring that ongoing checks on the student’s continued right to work are carried out.
We recommend that you set calendar reminders to carry out right to work checks prior to visa expiry. HR systems, like our preferred partner, Breathe HR, also have the functionality to record expiry dates and set up alerts. Do speak to us if you are interested in setting up Breathe.
You may also be liable to pay a fine if you allow the student to work beyond the number of hours permitted during term time so it is therefore crucial that this is factored in when rostering work. A working week is defined by the Government as Monday to Sunday.
Many international students can only work during term time. Check their visa, if you break this by employing them full time all year round you can expect to be fined.
Not only are you at risk of civil penalties if you fail to meet your obligations under the right to work legislation, but you may also be at risk of committing a criminal offence if you knowingly employ an international student who does not have the right to work in question, including where they are in breach of the number of hours they are permitted to do during term time.
If you need any support with employing an international student in your Day Nursery and to ensure you are compliant with right to work legislation please call us on 01527 909436.