New research has suggested that up to 95 per cent of British firms that hire non-EU workers are at risk of losing their Tier 2 work permit sponsorship licence.
According to WorkPermit.com, less than 25 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) are fully aware of the risks they take if they fail to comply with the regulations tied to the receipt of a sponsorship licence.
However, non-compliance with the Home Office rules could result in punishments as serious as prison sentences, closure of businesses or irreversible damage to a company’s reputation.
The study also found that 53 per cent of UK employers believe that fines for non-compliance were as low as £50, and unaware that they can actually stretch to £20,000 for every worker hired illegally.
Additionally, fewer than 50 per cent of SMEs were aware of what files they needed to keep to meet regulations, while 96 per cent of Tier 2 work permit sponsors admitted they failed to inform the Home Office when their workers had a change in circumstances.
Commenting on the results of the study, Sanwar Ali of WorkPermit.com added that one of the reasons for the lack of compliance among SMEs is the poor guidance offered to them by the government.
“Businesses need to feel confident that if they try their best to deal with tier 2 compliance they will not be penalised,” he said. “Businesses should not be penalised when the requirements are so unclear that they are in effect practically impossible to comply with.”