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Simple Steps to Pass a UKVI Audit

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Scientists have discovered that humans make judgements on someone’s trustworthiness within the first 500 milliseconds of hearing their voice. It’s not quite that simple with a UKVI audit, however there’s no doubt that initial impressions can go a very long way to establish your credibility as a responsible and compliant Tier 2 sponsor. And poor initial impressions can mean a more detailed and challenging scrutiny of your personnel files and HR procedures.

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Creating a good first impression isn’t rocket science. DavidsonMorris staff have audited thousands of personnel files, at hundreds of companies, and we’ve come up with three incredibly simple steps to create that vital good first impression. And they’re not about style over substance – they are steps that will also help you achieve and maintain compliance, through the challenges of staff turnover and changing legislation.

NB The three steps outlined below are aimed at companies that maintain hard-copy personnel files (though they may also keep personnel information online.) We are happy to advise companies on equally simple steps that can be taken by those who maintain all, or the vast bulk, or their personnel data online.

With the three steps below you can show a UKVI auditor, at the moment they pick up their first personnel file, that:

  • You know exactly who your sponsored migrants are
  • You are fully aware of your responsibilities as a Tier 2 sponsor
  • You are keeping on top of your responsibilities


Colour code your files

Make sure that the personnel files for your Tier 2 sponsored migrants are colour-coded in some way (a particular colour of folder or marked with a sticker.) That way it’s instantly visually clear to an auditor that you know exactly who your migrant workers are. It also makes it easier to locate any folder you need. UKVI can turn up unannounced at any time to carry out an audit, and they’ll usually have a list of the sponsored migrants whose files they wish to see – if you can’t find a particular file you really, really won’t be giving the right first impression. We hope you’re far too organised for that to happen, but it’s amazing how often we’ve seen it occur.


Include a checklist in each file

UKVI has clear requirements for the documents you must hold on file for every migrant worker that you sponsor. We’re sure you know the requirements – there’s probably a list somewhere on your computer, or maybe it’s outlined in a procedure manual somewhere, or simply in your head – but how can an auditor ensure that you know, unless they go through every file you have? By printing it out and putting it in each sponsored migrant’s file anyone opening the file can instantly see that you know what your responsibilities are and that you’re keeping on top of them.

It’s also a readily-available guide to every member of your HR staff, and if there are changes in legislative requirements it can be instantly updated.


Maintain an immigration ‘sub folder’

Wading through reams of paper in a personnel folder to find the relevant documents is not likely to put a UKVI auditor in a good mood. They may even miss some key documents that are on file because they simply can’t find them, and classify you as non-compliant in error (‘I know that copy of the visa isn’t signed and dated, but there’s another photocopy somewhere in the file that is’, ‘that copy of the contract hasn’t been signed, but there’s a signed copy three sections back’) There’s no such thing as a perfect way to set up a personnel file – every organisation has their own way of doing things, but we would suggest that as a minimum you maintain a section that includes:

  • A copy of the Certificate of Sponsorship
  • A copy of any changes reported to UKVI (salary or job description / title)
  • A copy of passport and visa or biometric residence permit

If you were required to carry out a resident labour market test we would also recommend adding to this:

  • Screenshots of your adverts (as detailed in the Certificate of Sponsorship)

These three steps aren’t a universal panacea – an auditor will still go through at least some of your files in detail. And record-keeping is only one of the areas of compliance that UKVI will assess when they carry out an audit. But if you can help form an instant impression that you are organised, aware of your obligations, and transparent in your systems and processes, you will have gone a long way to establish your trustworthiness as a Tier 2 sponsor.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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