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South Africans in UK - be aware of new Right to Work law!

(3 Posts)
AnetD Fri 24-Jul-15 15:41:41

Just writing a general warning to all SA mums in the UK about the recent changes to which documents are proof of your Right to Work in the UK. I just had a terribly frustrating time as a result of this. I had just applied for a job, went through the interview process, did a mass of tests, was told I had the job... only to be told 'sorry, your documents aren't sufficient'. I had to get a BRP asap to get this job! I had never heard of it till then! The Home Office has made no effort to inform anyone of the changes in Law. These changes came into effect in May last year (2014).

It used to be perfectly acceptable to produce an outdated passport containing your Residency Vignette in conjunction with a new passport (and your Home Office letter confirming your Right to Work) as proof of your Right to Work. That is no longer the case. If you now have an outdated passport containing your Vignette, you have to transfer that to a Biometric Residency Permit.

It costs £260 per person, and you also have to enroll your Biometrics at a local Post Office, which costs about £20 per person (check online first to see which Post Offices in your area offers the service). It takes about 6 months for the application to go through.

The situation is not improved by the fact that most of the Home Office staff do not seem to know anything about the BRP, and that some give actively incorrect advice. So, to give the benefit of my (very very VERY frustrating) experience, this is what is currently going on/what you need to do:

When you apply for a job, your prospective employer needs to thoroughly check your documents to ensure that they are legal, in date, and valid. They can get fined £20 000 if they do not. So they are getting very sticky about this.

Your documents containing your Right to Work need to be current (not expired). If they are not, you will have to apply for a BRP.

If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, you have to download and fill in the NTL forms:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423215/NTL_04-15.pdf

If you have Limited Leave to Remain it is the TOC BRP form:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/423220/TOC_Application_Form_04.pdf

(Unfortunately, my experience is only with the NTL form, so I cannot give any further guidance on the TOC process. Sorry!)

You can apply for yourself and your dependents on the same form.

The NTL form is very ambiguous as to which documentation you need to send in as proof of your Right to Remain. At the very basic your old and new passports (containing your Vignette or any separate Right to Remain document) and Home Office letters granting Right To Remain need to be sent. As my passport containing my Vignette had expired, I decided to cover all the bases and sent documents to prove that my son and I had remained in the UK continually since we arrived (one document for every year for each - my son and myself). I asked the Home Office if this was necessary or overkill. The woman I spoke to said you want to make the best case you can right off the bat to prevent delays. So send as much as you can.
All documents have to be the original, and you have to add copies of each original. If you do not have the original, or a document it missing, you have to write in a covering letter why it is missing/a copy.

Shortly after you apply (for me it was a week after the documents arrived at the Home Office. Obviously - send Recorded Delivery with Signature!) you will receive a confirmation letter and a letter inviting you to enroll your Biometrics at the Post Office. You cannot do so without that letter/barcode form. You have to do this within 15 days of receiving your invitation letter, or your application will be declined.

This letter will also confirm that you have the Right to Work. It's not that simple, however. Once you inform your prospective employer of this letter, they have to send a copy to the Home Office Employer Checking Service. It then takes about a week for THAT department to issue a Certificate (Positive Verification Notice). This confirms that you have the Right To Work. You have to show this to any other prospective employers. It only lasts for 6 months, so as soon as you get your BRP you have to show it to your new employer.

Once you have the BRP - that will be your proof of Right to Work and Right to Remain. But beware! If you change your name (get married for example) you will have to reapply for a new one and go through the whole process again (yes, and pay again)! A very strong argument for keeping your maiden name smile.

Some more, related, light reading:

www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/overview

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/426964/an_employers_guide_to_right_to_work_checks_may_2015_final.pdf

And the Home Office number to call regarding all of the above: 0300 123 2241

But, again, be warned - half the people I spoke to there didn't know what a BRP is, some told me to fill in the wrong forms, and all of them told me my documents are perfectly fine and I shouldn't have to apply for a BRP. All while the Home Office Employer Checking Service were telling my prospective employers exactly the opposite. But, after having read the Employer guide, I see that my outdated passport WASN'T enough anymore. Your Visa/Vignette/Right to Remain stamp HAS to be in a CURRENT passport.

I hope this helps! Feel free to ask if I wasn't entirely clear on something.

Fi2013 Mon 27-Jul-15 14:07:41

Thanks Anet! Very useful information. Hubby was thinking of changing jobs but will tell him to hold off until he gets his UK passport. Well he needs to apply for ILR first! He can do this year.

Fi x

AnetD Mon 27-Jul-15 15:15:50

I agree - best to get all the paperwork sorted out first. It's a nightmare! I wouldn't wait on applying for his passport though - considering the price seems to double every couple of years! *grumble grumble smile

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