Employing migrant workers


Case Study: Thomas Miller and Co

Thomas Miller and Co - this will open in a new window

Thomas Miller and Co



Company history and profile

Thomas Miller & Co Ltd is the London operating company of Thomas Miller, a privately owned group of companies providing a full range of insurance and risk management services. Thomas Miller is best known for its management of mutual insurance companies in the international transport sector. Thomas Miller employs 550 staff worldwide. Jobs range across technical insurance related areas, e.g., underwriters and claims handlers, as well as support functions such as HR, Finance, IT and Administration. Turnover has always been low.

With a history back to the 19th Century, Thomas Miller has a long tradition and reputation for service at the heart of the shipping industry. Building on its integrity and solid foundations, it has been steadily and successfully expanding and widening its scope of business, since the mid 1980s. The firm incorporated in 1999, and is now owned by its employee and ex-employee shareholders, with a private internal market to allow shares to be bought and sold.

Values and Approach to employment policy

The company generally employs local and UK staff where possible, but recognises migrant workers can sometimes meet needs for specialist skills and international experience.

Business case/driver for employing non-UK nationals

Thomas Miller operates in a range of international markets. There is a real need for employees who are fluent in a range of different languages, e.g., Russian, Japanese, Greek, and Arabic to work with customers in these markets. A large number of employees speak at least two languages.

On occasion there is a need for an experienced individual who has an understanding of a particular international market.

Models and Process

Thomas Miller has a set of policies and procedures to ensure migrant workers are employed legally. HR is responsible for ensuring these policies are carried out. Line management identifies the need for a position that could be filled by a migrant worker.

The processes involved include:
  • Initial job advertisements state the requirement for UK right to work.
  • At first interview stage, passport copies are taken and an application form filled out which asks applicants to state their nationality and the type of visa they have if applicable.
  • At the point of job offer, references are checked and an NI check is carried out.
  • No one is employed without these checks being carried out.
If Thomas Miller discovered that one of their employees was illegally employed they would first check if correct process was followed when the person was recruited. If the worker was found to have acted fraudulently, e.g., had a fake visa, they would contact the Home Office. This would be followed by immediate dismissal. If there was genuine mistake, the relevant fines would be paid and steps taken to rectify the situation for the employee.

Costs & Risks of Employing Migrant Workers

Costs of employing migrant workers are small in proportion to total recruitment costs and include:
  • Sponsoring staff on working holiday visas
  • Allowance for English language lessons if required
  • Relocation of staff
The risks of employing migrant workers are seen to be:
  • Staff leaving Thomas Miller once they have been provided with a permanent visa
  • Staff wishing to return to their home country for personal reasons
  • Language issues


Thomas Miller, by employing migrant workers, is able to recruit the best people with the skills and languages they need to serve their international customers. The diversity of backgrounds also enriches the workplace for the workforce as a whole.

Contact details

Anke Kroner, Recruitment Manager, Thomas Miller
Tel: 0207 204 2491
Email: akroner@thehrpeople.com


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