UKVI Compliance Audit a case study at the University of Greenwich, March 2014

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1 UKVI Compliance Audit a case study at the University of Greenwich, March 2014 Introduction 1.1 In the past two years there has been a significant change in the approach to compliance audits carried out by agents of the Home Office. This case study reflects the latest approach and captures the key learning points from a compliance visit carried out in November The UKVI Higher Education Assurance Team (HEAT) delivery plan states that: The main purpose of HEAT is to ensure all HEIs, approximately 170, comply with policy and regulations as set out in the published Tier 4 and Tiers 2 and 5 policy guidance. The team will aim to undertake a full audit of all HEIs, as it will for all sponsors during the four year licence cycle. It will work in partnership with HEIs to offer them the necessary support and audit assurance to support their ability to recruit and monitor legitimate students and employees whilst robustly tackling abuse of the immigration rules. 1.3 The University of Greenwich had its compliance audit under the revised UKVI arrangements in November The University had prepared well and the investment of time and effort led to a relatively positive experience and very successful audit. The compliance officers checked all Tier 2 migrant worker files along with a small number of other files and appreciated the commitment to thoroughness demonstrated by all those involved from the University. 1.4 We are grateful to the University for sharing their experience and for providing full details of their preparations for the purposes of this case study. Preparation 2.1 A key component of a successful compliance audit is the preparation. Ahead of the visit Greenwich conducted its own internal audit starting with a report from the HR management system of all sponsored employees. The report for the sponsored staff was inserted into a spread sheet under specific headings. This highlighted any gaps in the information held on these employees. The headings for each column of the spread sheet matched an internally designed Sponsored and Nonsponsored Migrant HR File Checklist. The items in this checklist are lifted from the UKVI s own guidance on compliance so the University was confident that they had a complete list of the essential information that would be required by the audit. 2.2 The Sponsored and Non-sponsored Migrant HR File Checklist was also used to produce a contents sheet that is inserted in a separate colour coded transparent wallet in the personal file of each migrant employee that contains all the relevant documents.

2 The contents sheet was headed up with personal/unique details: Migrant employee s name Employee number Faculty/Office Immigration status (Tier, residence permit, work permit, dependant visa etc.) Immigration status expiry date Nationality and passport expiry date Beneath the personal details there is the checklist of documents: Job description Passport immigration status document UK Biometric residence permit (if relevant) NI Number History of contact details Record of all absences from work Degree certificate Standard Occupational Classification Code (only applicable to Tier 2) Registration and/or Professional accreditation documents (Check if PIN provided on application form) Payslips Evidence of amount and frequency of all salary payments Value of allowances (evidence of owner/letting agent of rented property, if relevant) Contract of employment Shortage occupation exemption - Appendix K 1 showing date of printing on each page Post study work exemption (last had leave as Tier 4 [General]) Post study work exemption (last had leave as Tier 1 [Post study work]) All applications shortlisted for final interview Names and numbers of applications shortlisted for final interview Note from final interview conducted Notes for each settled worker who was rejected (giving reasons why they were not employed) Universal job match advertisement. These documents and the checklist front page were all placed, in order, in the special coloured wallet so that it was separated in the file from more generic documents and easily identified. This made the compliance officer s task easier. 2.3 The same information is listed as headings on the spreadsheet used to prepare for the visit. The spreadsheet notes whether the document is on file, if not on file what action is being taken, the date this was checked and by whom. 2.4 Now that this process has been established the University continues on a regular basis to maintain and update the spreadsheet with notes of any changes, and make any corresponding changes to the documents held in the separate wallet of the personal file. 2.5 As a way of double checking that all migrant staff had been included in the monitoring and audit process Greenwich also ran a report on all staff to check their 1 Home Office Immigration Rules

3 nationality, the report identified any additional staff that had disclosed a nationality other than EEA or Swiss but who were not recorded as sponsored Tier 2 or Tier 1 migrant workers. The additional foreign nationals that were identified through this exercise were checked for status. On closer inspection many of these were identified as having indefinite leave to remain either through marriage or some other authorisation. The system has now been modified to include a field for indefinite leave to remain so when the report is run in the future these employees will not be included for compliance audit purposes. Forms and audit trails 3.1 Experience has shown that it is time well invested to raise the migrant worker s awareness of their own responsibilities and the method used by Greenwich was to capture this in a proforma; Migrant worker contact details and status form. The form is given to the migrant worker for completion and he or she then passes the completed form to their line manager who then forwards the completed and signed form to HR. As a result of preparing this for the compliance audit the form is now completed on appointment and then annually and a copy is also retained in the wallet on the personal file. The form, lists the following: Name Job title Location Work telephone number UK home residential address Home landline telephone number Mobile telephone number Have any circumstances relating to your employment changed during the past 6 months (e.g. you job title, core duties, work location) Has your status changed during the past 6 months (e.g. have you got married, become divorced or separated from your partner?) Are you aware of any circumstances that may mean that you are in breach of the terms of your leave to remain in the UK? Signed Date. 3.2 As well as proactively raising awareness with the migrant worker in this way it is also essential that the line managers have full knowledge of their staff and their own responsibilities and the part these play in the process. To cover this Greenwich has produced a checklist of each line managers responsibilities and this includes highlighting to them when it is necessary to report to the HR department on specific events and changes, this form is called the Migrant worker line manager reporting responsibilities. 3.3 Representatives from the HR department met with all line managers before the compliance audit to explain and clarify their responsibilities and to set this in the context of the University wanting to retain its status as a highly trusted sponsor. The meeting and the announcement of the requirement to fill out the declaration was initially not very well received by line mangers but having listened to the explanation and why this was necessary they were persuaded by the case and agreed to certify the form; this required their signature, the date and then to return the form to HR as soon as possible where it is then placed in the wallet on the personal file alongside the other relevant documents. Greenwich has also provided training for all line managers. The Migrant worker line manager reporting responsibilities form asks them to report the following circumstances:

4 If the migrant worker does not attend work on his/her first day of employment If the migrant worker takes unauthorised absence for 10 consecutive days If the migrant worker is on long term sickness absence of one month or more If you are proposing to make significant changes to the contract of employment of the migrant worker including changes to salary, contractual hours and location where he/she is employed If the migrant worker is requesting time off for maternity paternity, adoption or parental leave If the migrant worker s contract is terminated or if the migrant worker resigns Where there is any information which suggests that the migrant worker is breaching the conditions of his/her leave to remain Where there is any information which suggests that the migrant worker may be engaging in terrorist or other criminal activity. 3.4 A similar process is used for raising awareness amongst the migrant staff. Their form, Migrant worker reporting responsibilities outlines what they must report on and asks them to confirm that they are aware of the responsibilities. The form is signed, dated and returned to the line manager who then forwards the form to HR as soon as possible where it is stored in the wallet on the personal file. The form asks that the following is reported: If you are absent from work without permission for 10 consecutive days If there is a proposal to make significant changes to your contract of employment If you are requesting time off for maternity, paternity, adoption or parental leave If you resign from your position. 3.5 It also asks the migrant worker to provide the University with contact details as well as right to work documentation when asked to do so. Recruitment 4.1 The compliance audit concentrated predominantly on the recruitment process; how jobs and vacancies were approved and the decision making process for appointments. This part of the audit, from UKVI s point of view, establishes that jobs are not being created for the purposes of unauthorised and therefore illegal immigration. 4.2 The compliance officers took a keen interest in the e-recruitment system and, from the experience at Greenwich, it is strongly advised that someone from the HR department is on hand on the day of the compliance visit who is familiar with the system and able to field questions and to quickly access the relevant screens, reports and record storage. Clearly it is also important that the electronic records are seen to be up to date. The compliance officers asked if the University undertook an annual audit of the records to demonstrate that employees are employed consistently in the same job and if they are not that there are records to show valid and acceptable reasons for any changes, this included non-sponsored staff. The University was able to provide evidence of this. 4.3 The audit of the recruitment process included a robust check on whether the University obtained and retained proof of qualifications where these are essential to the role, so again it is strongly recommended that any gaps in these particular records are chased up. At Greenwich, to make it slightly easier

5 to do this, the individual is invited to bring their certificates in to the Faculty Office where they were verified and scanned. For the avoidance of doubt, the Faculty Office staff sign and date a form and attach this to the scanned copy saying, I have had sight of the original certificate and it does not appear to be tampered with ; it is not sufficient to just say seen. Greenwich recently implemented this extended declaration to this particular audit trail that had not previously been required and UKVI responded positively to this approach. 4.4 In order to keep track and comply with the requirements of the resident labour market test Greenwich take print-offs of job adverts, the date on the print-off verifies the 28 days duration of the advertisement campaign. The compliance officers were then keen to see how many were shortlisted for the advertised post together with a copy of every application and notes from the interview in support of the appointment. The notes, which are brief but explicit, are on the e-recruitment system and clearly illustrate the decision making process and the justification for the appointment and these were deemed to be acceptable. 4.5 Another small but important example of how Greenwich has developed strategies to avoid any uncertainty or misinterpretation of records can be seen in the column on the spreadsheet where they identify whether or not a post requires registration (for example, a doctor). They have found that putting N/A in the relevant column if registration is not required is clearer than inserting a dash or leaving it blank, which could be interpreted as, for example, awaited or pending. 4.6 As stated above, on the day(s) of the compliance visit it is important to have HR, Finance and other staff present who are both familiar and confident with the internal systems and processes; this should include not only the recruitment process but also the promotions procedure from start to finish and experienced payroll officers or managers. The compliance officers were not concerned about the number of internal staff that were present on the day as long as this meant they were able to obtain the information that they needed as efficiently and comprehensively as possible. Monitoring and tracking 5.1 Greenwich uses various means of tracking and monitoring the key pieces of information that are required for compliance purposes. The following examples illustrate this: Date of residence: this was verified from screen shots showing home address. Pay: pay records and pay slips illustrating level of pay and frequency of pay were made available by the payroll manager. The compliance officers also wanted proof that the record was still a live record (the Certificate of Sponsorship (Cos) is linked to salary) and that this shows that the individual is still on the range for the salary that matched the original CoS. If there is significant change then that has to be reported and to make sure that the individual has the right CoS. Absence: In Greenwich, absence is recorded on the payroll system and this enabled the University to produce a comprehensive report from the records. Line managers, through the Migrant worker line manager reporting responsibilities are fully aware of their responsibilities in this respect.

6 Feedback Change in circumstances: The Migrant worker contact details and status form that each migrant worker completes includes questions about marital status and any changes to that. This was received positively by the compliance officers as it clearly demonstrates that Greenwich had done all it could to make sure that as an employer they were aware of changes. 6.1 Greenwich received positive feedback on the day of the inspection and were informed that there were no errors or omissions and that no recommendations for any changes would be necessary. The HR representatives asked the compliance officers for a copy of their handwritten notes that they had made which were willingly provided. They were particularly impressed with the separation of all relevant documents in a wallet in each personal file with an index sheet mirroring the UKVI s own checklist. For further information Contact: Paula Shelley March 2014

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