Employing migrant workers


Case Study: Betfair

Betfair - this will open in a new window




Company history and profile

Betfair launched in June 2000 and is now the largest and most successful online betting company in the UK. In its first month, Betfair matched less than �,000 worth of bets a week. Within a year that weekly figure had risen to over �million and is now in excess of �m. The success and innovation of Betfair was recognized when it won a 2003 Queen's Award for Enterprise (in the Innovation category), one of most prestigious business awards in the UK.

Betfair employs 941 permanent staff as well as 25-30 contractors - these are mainly engineering staff. The office headquarters are in Hammersmith, London.

Jobs range across the technical areas of Engineering, Marketing, Customer Service, Telephone Betting, Strategy and Business Development, as well as support functions such as HR, Legal, Finance, Communications and Administration.

Values and Approach to employment policy

Betfair generally employs local and UK staff where possible, but recognises migrant workers can sometimes meet needs for specialist skills and international experience. Betfair also employs a number of people who have come to the UK on a working holiday visa.

Business case/driver for employing non-UK nationals

Betfair typically employs migrant workers to fulfil language requirements as they operate globally and need to have people fluent in a variety of different languages. The site itself is used internationally, available in 17 different languages. Betfair also employs migrant workers for a number of technical roles where the skills needed may not be available within the UK.

Models and Process

Betfair has policies in place to ensure workers are employed legally. At the beginning of the recruitment process recruiters will be informed as to whether or not a candidate needs a work permit. All job offer documents state that employees have to be eligible to work in UK. Copies of passports and any relevant work permits and other documentation are made on the employee's first day.

Costs & Risks of Employing Migrant Workers

Costs of employing migrant workers are not significant, as most migrant workers employed already have a work permit. If employees don't have a work permit or their visa expires, Betfair must place an advertisement in the newspaper for the job, and then work with a work permit agency to obtain a permit for the employee. This process can cost up to �000 per employee and there are usually no more than four or five of these employees a year. The cost of the advertisement and the agency fees is borne by the relevant department.


Betfair is undergoing significant growth. Employing migrant workers enables Betfair to recruit the skills and specialist knowledge required to meet their business needs. This is helpful for permanent roles, reception roles and for short-term projects. The diversity and vibrancy of the workforce is also enhanced.



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