Prevention of Illegal Workers

Employers have a responsibility to ensure that each employee has the right to work before they commence working in the UK.

By implementing the appropriate document check and controls, employers can help ensure they are complying with the Home Office rules.

The penalties for employing undocumented workers are high:

  1. you may be jailed for up to 5 years and receive an unlimited fine if you knowingly employ an illegal worker
  2. you may be be fined £20,000 per employee if you fail to complete the correct checks prior to employment
  3. you may have to pay an Unlimited fine if you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the employee:
  • did not have lawful leave or visa to enter or remain in the UK
  • had expired visa or permission, or is an overstayer
  • had conditions restricting certain types of work
  • had identity or immigration status documents were incorrect or false

The reputation of a company can be damaged if a company receives a penalty for employing illegal workers. Therefore it is vital to ensure your organisation is complying with Home Office regulations and conducting the appropriate right to work checks.

As a warning to deter other companies from hiring illegal workers, the Home Office may publish your business’s details. If you are found guilty or liable, you will be issued a Civil Penalty Notice with a deadline to respond (usually 28 days). We may in certain cases, be able to challenge the decision if there are valid grounds for Appeal.

We often work with companies to ensure they are conducting the correct checks prior to providing employment and follow-up checks where appropriate.  If you would like advice and assistance on conducting the right to work checks, please contact us today.

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How do I report an illegal worker in the UK?
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To report individuals who you suspect are in the UK illegally, you can click on this link or call the Immigration Enforcement Hotline at 0300 123 7000. You can also contact the Customs hotline at 0800 595 000.

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