Home Office ‘Cracking Down’ on Overseas Care Job Recruitment

Extra government scrutiny on employers who hire visa-holding migrant care workers has made the recruitment process more expensive and difficult, care providers are reporting.

Home Office officials are now asking employers to provide a much higher level of detail when applying for undefined Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS), according to Solicitors which represents several operators in the sector. A CoS is an electronic record which a migrant uses to apply for a visa. Undefined Certificates of Sponsorship are required by migrant work permit holders who are applying for jobs from within the UK, typically switching jobs. The increased oversight is reportedly creating confusion for many operators, some of whom have relied on legal experts to help when their applications fail.

Historically, care homes and providers were able to request a quota of undefined CoS which could be increased later if required. This allowed them the flexibility to fill vacancies quickly as and when they arose. The Home Office only requested a general idea of the employer’s plans and the online application portal only had two fields: one for the number of undefined CoS needed and a second for the reasons the certificates were required.

Recently however, the Home Office has started to request more detailed information about the job vacancies and the candidates being recruited. Undefined CoS request submissions are being scrutinised more and if insufficient information is provided officials chase updates or reject applications. Several recruiters have complained that the increased compliance measures are making the recruitment process longer and more complicated.

The issue has been brought to the attention of visa specialist Solicitors, which represents several clients in the care industry who rely on overseas workers.

Yash Dubal, director of the Legal 500 firm, said: “Previously our clients reported that the application process for undefined Certificates and Sponsorship was effortless. But now, it can be quite confusing, particularly for inexperienced staff and those that don’t have the resources to outsource are stuck trying to work it out themselves. Increasingly applicants need knowledge of the immigration rules to explain why the request is viable in immigration terms and if they don’t provide credible reasons for the request, the application is rejected.

“It seems the Home Office are cracking down on spurious or ineligible CoS requests and while some employers are making successful requests with quick results others are missing the mark and getting rejections, leading to wasted time and extra expense if they then need to hand over to a legal expert.”

Officials have also stated that future undefined CoS allocations will be granted based on the previous years’ usage. This has also been criticised but may work favourably for care providers.

Dubal added: “For a lot of employers who sponsor migrant workers this is nonsense as they do not sponsor the same number of people each year. For care companies which regularly sponsor workers and those which have a high staff turnover, however, this might be a boon, as in effect their quota will be auto-renewed at the start of every year.”

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