Europe under threat from illegal documents?

When we look at employment figures and company news from the UK we are still doing very well, compared to our European counterparts. Great news.

How easy is it to obtain illegal documents?

illegal documents for cashThe grey lining to our silver cloud is that this makes the UK an attractive place for all especially with the numbers of illegal documents out there. There are many from within Europe and beyond who have their eyes firmly set on working and living in the UK but, they don’t all have the necessary criteria for legal entry. So, what do they do?

The BBC published a video on the 18th May where they went undercover to see how easy it would be to obtain EU documents in Turkey.

It presents a new problem where the refugees who obtained permission to be in Europe legally are selling their documents (great use of recycling!).

Yet again, we find that social media is doing its bit. Without giving too much away, Facebook seems to be one of the sites facilitating the sale of these documents.

The video highlighted the sales of a German issued Schengen Visa but other documents are available at a price. It’s well worth the watch. Click here to view: BBC how easy to get an illegal passport

It really highlights how the criminal world can further exploit individuals using indebtedness.

A typical scenario is;

  • Immigrant arrives in the UK planning to stay
  • Debts are built up by the immigrant from rent, food and illegal documents.
  • The immigrant cannot easily get a bank account so one is given to them by the "landlord".

Now they have documentation, address, a bank account. They can work?

The GLAA (The Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) looks to stop this type of scenario:

  • Prevent workers from being exploited for their labour;
  • Protect workers and potential victims so making them less vulnerable to being exploited for their labour;
  • Pursue relentlessly, disrupting and prosecuting those who engage in the exploitation of workers.

We all as employers have a role to play in the modern slavery or more politely exploitation of people. By following the Home Office guidance on Right to Work we can help reduce this activity, but....

This presents another challenge for employers – “The Imposter”.

This is where uComply can help - with training

There are a number of steps mandated in the Home Office guidance.

One of them ensures that the person you are seeing with the original documents at the time of the check is actually the person depicted on those documents.

Fortunately, nature has helped us out here. Simply put, most people have a natural ability to recognise faces but, ensuring we all do this consistently needs an established process which everyone follows.

The picture on the left (me on a good day) gives a summary of what you can do.

When we train people, we use this as well as other techniques to hone this skill.

We all understand as employers that employing illegal workers can result in fines of £20,000 per illegal worker and or a prison sentence.

Importantly though, employing an imposter will incur a fine if the worker is deemed illegal. There are no legitimate excuses for not spotting a substitute person.

The reason why we follow the Home Office guidance is to get a statutory excuse. It has never been more important to follow the Right to Work process.

The risk of illegal documents is still there though. With people still willing to sell fake documents, illegal documents can and do find their way on to the market. Check it out, type “buy fake document” into Google, you will find many websites blatantly offering fake documents for sale. Vigilance in this arena still required.

Technology combined with training helps.

ID checking on the move; simplify your Right to WorkDid you know that even a smart phone can be used to establish the authenticity of a passport, ID card, Visa, Biometric Residents Permit and even a driving licence?

Utilising "Near Field Communication" (NFC) capabilities (similar to those used by the card payment technologies) even the chip found on the identity documents can be read.

This gives the user an unparalleled opportunity to prevent the use of fake documents in the enrollment process.

On its own, without using skills from training (i.e. user interaction)technology is not a panacea but, when the user procedure for Right to Work is combined with technology. It is a game changer.

At uComply, to help employers get that vital statutory excuse, we have created a fusion between technology and process.

Our unique product uAuthenticate ensures employers follow the guidance in a consistent manner and records all the results securely. At the same time, it checks document authenticity and supports consent based document capture (i.e. GDPR compliant).

We offer training which incorporates facial recognition, document inspection techniques and how to ensure that you follow the Home Office Right to Work guidance process.

The right to work here

Everyone has a right to work, but not all have the right to work in the UK. Employing those who want to work here is one issue, but employing those who can legally work here is another.

Checking the legality and documentation is fast becoming an enormous problem with the production of better fake documents.
Right to Work Step - ensure compliance with DPA and the new GDPR regulationsFrom now until Brexit day we anticipate thousands of workers will enter the UK before the door is shut. Many will be in the FM, care, healthcare, building, catering and leisure industries. The majority will have genuine paperwork and a legal right to work here.

However, a minority will not be eligible. Sifting these out is a big issue especially when fines of £20,000 or imprisonment are the penalties for employing a person without genuine paperwork. One firm using our solution is discovering one fake a month. Based upon the going rate of fines you could equate this to a quarter million pound saving since they came on board. It is hardly surprising considering there are an estimated 8,000+ producers of fake documents across Europe.

How does the HR or regional manager carrying out interviews proceed confidently? An interviewer can, using our process driven solution, tell immediately whether the interviewee has genuine documents and is legally allowed to work here. For the less than the cost of a cup of coffee per candidate you get to sleep easy knowing that you do not have illegal workers  and are keeping on the right side of the law.
At the same time, HR could delegate large elements of the work to operational staff. As the right to work Home Office guidance process is built into our software it ensures a greater level of compliance even with inexperienced users. HR can oversee the results centrally focusing on the exceptions creating process efficiencies.

The right to work mobile version – uAuthenticate Mobile

For the Area Manager interviewing staff away from the office our checking process is completely paperless and carried out on a mobile. ID checking on the move; simplify your Right to WorkThe interviewer taps in the country of origin and a list of all necessary documentation will appear. They can then tell the candidate what is required for the interview.

Our solution allows the interviewer to take a photograph, save it to the cloud and the candidate signs the screen to allow storage of their documents. Essentially, providing a permission based process. Now for the clever part – our App can scan the documents, read and save all the data from the information stored on the passports’ chip too.

All the information is stored safely and securely in our encrypted cloud solution for easy retrieval or easy deletion. In addition, a centralised HR team or compliance function can easily review all workers information.

The right to work desktop version uAuthenticate Pro

ID passport checkingIdeal for office based HR recruiters on a PC or laptop interviewing a large number of candidates at a central location.

Our Pro version incorporates a passport checker (the same type used in airports and border crossings). This allows a forensic level of checks for the passport in UV, Infrared light and chip reading. In addition, all the ID documents scanned are compared against a document library like a technological game of snap. This system is the only one that offers Home Office Guidance and this level of full passport authentication.
All the information is stored safely and securely on the company’s own servers for easy retrieval or deletion.

User speak

One fast growing contract cleaning company, Birkin Cleaning Services of Welwyn Garden City, has used uAuthenticate mobile for six months and the Company is pleased to have the system as insurance that every new member of staff is working legally.

Birkin CEO Paul Ashton finds the system essential to his recruitment. He said: “We looked at several systems and chose uComply because it offered the widest range of checks, the price is keen and its training is superb. Ultimately, the system demonstrates our active commitment to stringent processes and therefore peace of mind as a business owner. It’s easy to use, non-aggressive, does what it promises and our staff love it for its simplicity.”

Paul, who is Chairman of the CSSA Innovation and Technology Board has invested heavily in technology this year. He said “This is the first piece of technology that has immediately paid for itself, impressed our clients and enhanced our reputation. It sets the tone of professionalism right from the start at the very first interview. I wish all software was so easy and user friendly.”

What happens?

protect yourself from illegal workersThere will be some readers asking the question. ‘What if a very clever fake gets through the system….’. The answer is comforting because if the employer can prove that it has all the documents checked, cleared, signed and dated, there should be no fine. So as the forgers get smarter, so do uComply’s solutions. If the Home Office guidance changes, our systems are updated. We have the only system that incorporates Home Office guidelines combined with this level of checks. Furthermore, no data leaves the UK.

The process does not end once a candidate is cleared as our process is continuous. Alerts are created concerning expiring documents like passports, VISA, Biometric cards, country ID cards, ECS check and driving licences. Our development, help desk, data storage functions are UK based with no external call centre.

Our system is priced so that it is within reach of employers, contractors and recruitment businesses. Employing one illegal worker by accident can cause immeasurable damage to your business and tarnish your valuable reputation.

When considering employing someone the golden rule is ‘If in doubt – don’t’.