Immigration and Employment Law are of course two different areas of work in their own right. They are however increasingly becoming linked and lawyers are having to build up new networks to take this into account.
This position has come about largely as a result of two UKBA (the immigration authority in the UK) initiatives.
Firstly, the UK Border Agency sought to reduce illegal immigration by preventing migrants from working and earning money. They knew they could not adequately levy fines on the migrants as they would simply go underground. The UKBA then commenced a civil penalty scheme designed to target employers who employed migrants illegally.
This of course led to businesses whose staffing issues were dealt with by employment lawyers being inundated with new regulations as to which documents had to be obtained in order to avoid a civil penalty. Of course, employment lawyers and solicitors are perfectly able to absorb new regulations. Where employment solicitors may have issues is to actually work out whom among the employees were lawful in the country and whom were lawful but unable to work.
In those circumstances, it remains useful to have an immigration specialist, either in hand or remotely to assist who does and does not have permission to work.
The other major trend is the requirement for employers who wish to employ migrants as well as sponsor them, would have to be licenced by the UKBA. This requirement has added to the pressure on HR departments and on Employment lawyers to get the immigration issues right.
If you are an employment lawyer, HR or personnel professional would like to talk about some of the immigration issues that arise in this blog post, please contact Hateem Ali at our Mayfair offices.
5th Floor, Maddox House,
1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546