Immigration & compliance: not just words!

Immigration & compliance: not just words!
Late September, South African authorities conducted what they called a “Labour Blitz” on several Pretoria companies hiring foreign workers. A dozen people and their employers were arrested on the grounds that they were not compliant with the country’s immigration laws. In the Philippines, a few days ago, an impressive number of workers, mostly Chinese citizens, were arrested for the same reason and now have 59 days to leave the country. Immigration compliance: not just words!

The word “compliance” regularly comes up in the mouth of any immigration specialist, and it is not for nothing: there is no shortage of examples from one country to another, and states are strengthening their controls and tools to ensure that their immigration laws are respected. Large groups, start-ups or individuals: any foreign person in a country can be controlled – a well-known actress recently spoke about the 4 hours spent being questioned by the authorities because she came to work in a country without the appropriate work permit. Oui Immigration’s tips on that hot topic!

What are the risks?

Risks vary from country to country and depending on the offence committed, but may include:

  • Fines;
  • Lawsuits;
  • Detention;
  • Expulsion from the country;
  • Ban from the country;
  • Difficulties in obtaining a visa/permit in this country in the future;
  • Prohibition for the company to recruit foreign employees in the future;
  • Deterioration of the company’s image (impacts on sales and recruitment, among others)

Having this information and understanding the risks involved will allow you to avoid two of the main points of non-compliance with the law:

  • Misuse of visas;
  • Overstay (failure to respect the length of stay allowed in the country);

If you don’t have the answer, contact a specialist like Oui Immigration.

We will fully understand that yes, this person must go as soon as possible to a particular country to repair a machine or replace a colleague at short notice; that the operational and financial emergency is there and that “it should only last a few days or at worst, a few weeks”.

It is our job to understand this, but it is also our job to give you all the necessary indications for you to make your decision mindfully: we help you in your risk management by giving you the right solution, and the risks to take another path.

The right reflexes
     a. Ask the right questions
  • Where, for how long and for what activities should the person leave?
  • What is his nationality?
  • Will she go back and forth frequently?
  • Does a simple business visa cover these activities? (Spoiler alert: it is rarely the case)

Having this information and understanding the risks involved will allow you to avoid two of the main points of non-compliance with the law:

     b. Control & train

Every employer has obligations related to the hiring and mobility of its employees. This will be the subject of a future article, but the basic tips are as follows:

  • Check visas/work permits when hiring, and their validity;
  • Track renewals;
  • Keep a copy of immigration documents in case of control by the authorities.

During international mobility, whether short or long:

  • Have the immigration reflex and look for the right information from an expert;
  • Train teams to have this reflex (Oui Immigration offers training on this subject);
  • Anticipate and manage mobility (spoiler alert bis: we know that it is not easy!)
Some harsh truths
  • The immigration officer or the official of the Ministry of Labour may not take into account information such as “I did not know that a work permit was needed“, “but I am European, it’s alright!” or “oh, he is just there for 2 weeks!”;
  • The time of “we will settle this with an envelope” is no longer working (or at your own risk);
  • Violations remain for a long time registered in the IT systems of the States.

Do not panic, that said! Oui Immigration is here to assist you, whether by training, advising or managing your immigration applications.

Do not hesitate to contact us!

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