In the heavily regulated world of international employment, compliance should be the top priority for every PEO provider worth its salt.   

On the wall of PEO Worldwide’s head office, in letters half a metre high, are four words: do the right thing. It is a mantra repeated and reinforced throughout our growing workforce — with good reason. 

We have numerous examples of how our team at TopSource Worldwide lives by this golden rule For example, our sales team will always flag all potential costs with a new prospect, even if it means jeopardising winning the deal. Our finance team will also return every penny of unused deposit, without being chased for it. What’s more, our compassionate HR leaders will give time off to employees needing to deal with personal matters, despite terms in the employment contract stating it is not essential.  

All of these examples are instances where short-term advantages (for one party) could be gleaned by taking another path. But we believe in doing the right thing, even if it is not the easiest option at the time — in our opinion and experience, this approach always brings longterm gains to all parties involved. 

Another example of where we do the right thing is when we field this common question… 

Can TopSource Worldwide sponsor a visa for my employee in the UK? 

The answer is always no. Why? Because it simply is not allowed.   

If you want to go through over 200 pages’ worth of visa advice from the Home Officethere is some good reading hereHowever, the clause you really need to know about is this one:  

“5.6 If you are an employment agency, you can apply for a sponsor licence but only to sponsor migrant workers who will be directly employed by you in connection with the running of your business. You cannot sponsor a migrant if you will then supply them as labour to another organisation, regardless of any genuine contractual arrangement between the parties involved.”  

Unfortunately, many people in the Employer of Record industry would see a profit in going ahead and sponsoring an employee in the UK anyway and then leasing that labour to their client — regardless of what the regulations state.   

There is also a good chance they won’t get caught, which is why so many EOR organisations see sponsoring a UK visa as a risk worth taking.  

At TopSource Worldwide, this is certainly not the case. No matter the short-term gains, losing our sponsorship licence (see cause 5.7!) and risking damaging our relationship with a client would not be worth it in the long run.   

Worse still, the client would have by then invested in the onboarding of the new employee, believing that their trusted partner had a compliant solution and everything under control. The employee would also have started their new role — sharing their exciting news with friends and family — under the assumption that they were hired in a wholly above-board way. The let-down for both would be hugely disappointing and irreparably damaging in so many ways. 

So, if you ask us to sponsor a foreign national in the UK for your business, the answer will ALWAYS be no. Instead, we will do the right thing and explain why that approach does not work in a labour leasing situation and discuss the other options available to you.  

Compliance is at the heart of everything we do. If you want an expert PEO provider that always does the right thing, not just the easy thing, get in touch with the team today.  

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Published On: 27/03/20Last Updated: 14/09/22

About the Author: Sam Barnes

Sam is our Global Business Development Manager for Employer of Record services. For the last 10 years, he has assisted companies in the successful execution of their international expansion plans. Sam tells us “There’s something inherently exciting about growing a business into overseas jurisdictions. Each country does things slightly differently and it’s great to be able to share learnings on statutory requirements and cultural nuances”. Email: sam.barnes@topsourceworldwide.com

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