Employment Law and the X Factor

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The recent controversy surrounding the elimination of Zimbabwean Gamu Nhengu from the X Factor proves just how important it is for an employer to be aware of UK immigration law, according to Amy Sergison, employment lawyer at Muckle LLP.

Viewer outrage

Over 200,000 viewers flocked onto Facebook to demonstrate their outrage as the would-be singer was sent home from the show by Newcastle’s very own talented talent judge Cheryl Cole, despite Gamu having shown promise in the audition stage.

Immigration checks save costly fine

Assuming the role of employer for the contestant, the show’s producers rightly performed Gamu’s right to work checks and noticed one or two question marks regarding the immigration status of her mother.  Gamu’s permission to remain in the UK was dependent upon her mother’s, who had been studying in the UK at University.  When her mother’s visa recently expired, she made a further application to extend the family’s permission to remain in the country which was rejected as it failed to meet the criteria of the UK Border Agency, which means that neither Gamu nor her family are legally able to live or work in the UK.

Having an employee without permission to live and work in the UK could net any employer and any individual officers of the company up to a Â£10,000 fine and so, by ensuring that they had the proper advice and procedures in place, the X Factor show didn’t break the law.  As the programme receives the thousands of applicants each year, if the show doesn’t follow immigration guidelines then it could be very costly for its producers, just as it could for any business.

How we can help

At Muckle LLP we recognise the importance and value that migration can add to employers across all sectors, bringing fresh talent into the UK.  Our employment team can provide advice and assistance on all aspects of business and corporate immigration in the UK.   To discuss your corporate immigration issues, contact Chris Maddock on 0191 211 7919 or email: [email protected]