Fines for employing Illegal Workers will be massively increased

Employing illegal workers is a violation of  the UK immigration laws and can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment, under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, section 21.

(1A) A person commits an offence if the person—

(a)employs another person (“the employee”) who is disqualified from employment by reason of the employee’s immigration status, and

(b)has reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment by reason of the employee’s immigration status.

In brief, employing someone without the right to work in the UK is considered an offense. This includes cases where you have reason to believe the employee is disqualified from employment.

The illegal workers might fall under the following categories:

-they did not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK

-their leave had expired

-they were not allowed to do certain types of work

-their papers were incorrect or false

The penalty methods are outlined below:

(2) person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment—

(i) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F3five] years,

(ii) to a fine, or

(iii) to both, or

(b) on summary conviction—

(i) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding [F4the general limit in a magistrates’ court] in England and Wales or 6 months in Scotland or Northern Ireland,

(ii) to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or

(iii) to both.

The UK Government plans not only to increase the immigration health surcharges but also to raise the maximum cap on fines significantly. It is announced that the civil penalties will be tripled, reaching £45,000 per worker for first offenses and £60,000 for repeat offenses. These policy changes are scheduled to be implemented in early 2024, but a specific commencement date has not yet been provided.

Upon the discovery of illegal employment, you will receive a ‘civil penalty notice’ if found liable, and you will have 28 days to respond. The notice will provide instructions on how to make the payment, what steps to take next, and how to challenge the decision.

As a result, it is essential to conduct the correct right-to-work check to verify their eligibility for the role prior to employing an individual. In cases where an individual’s right to work is time-restricted, a follow-up check should be carried out shortly before its expiration.  Employers should also maintain copies of all right-to-work documents examined, including information about the check date and the person responsible for conducting it.


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The content of this article is for general use and information only. Since each case should be prepared on its own merit and in light of the constant amendments to the Immigration Rules, it is important to note that the information provided must not be relied upon unless Migra & Co has either given written consent or has been officially engaged in relation to a specific immigration matter. As a result, Migra & Co will take no responsibility for any damage, cost or loss resulting from relying on the information contained in this article, blog and website.