UK Penalties for Employing Illegal Workers to Significantly Increase

UK Penalties for Employing Illegal Workers to Significantly Increase

In the United Kingdom, the government has announced plans to significantly increase civil penalties for employers found guilty of employing illegal workers. This move underscores the government’s commitment to tackling illegal employment and ensuring UK businesses comply with immigration laws. Understanding the ramifications of these changes is crucial for employers, as the implications extend far beyond mere financial penalties. Cromwell Wilkes, a leading firm of immigration lawyers in London, stands ready to guide businesses through the complexities of compliance, safeguarding them against the severe consequences of non-adherence.

What Is a Civil Penalty?

In the UK, civil penalties serve as a critical deterrent against the employment of individuals without the correct work authorisation, aligning with national efforts to combat illegal employment. Employers are mandated to perform “right to work” checks and maintain accurate records to ensure compliance. Failing to comply can lead to penalties of up to £60,000 per illegal worker, underscoring the importance of due diligence in hiring. Beyond financial penalties, non-compliance can significantly damage a business’s reputation, affecting consumer trust and professional relationships. This system emphasises the critical need for businesses to adhere to legal hiring practices, thus protecting the UK labour market’s integrity and corporate standing.

The Financial Impact of Civil Penalties on Employers

Employers in the UK face stringent penalties for failing to comply with immigration laws, particularly when it involves employing individuals without the right to work. Not adhering to or executing the requisite checks improperly can lead to severe financial and reputational consequences for businesses. 

  • Increased Maximum Fine: Employers found to have employed illegal workers without conducting the correct right-to-work checks or not conducting them properly can face a civil penalty of up to £60,000 for each illegal worker. This substantial increase underscores the government’s commitment to enforcing immigration compliance.
  • Referral and Civil Penalty Notices: If an employer is suspected of violating these regulations, they may receive a ‘referral notice’ indicating that their case is under review and may be subject to a civil penalty. A ‘civil penalty notice’ is issued to employers found liable, providing details on the penalty amount, payment instructions, and steps for objection. Employers have 28 days to respond to this notice.
  • Public Disclosure: Beyond financial penalties, businesses found liable may have their details published by Immigration Enforcement. This measure serves as a public deterrent, warning other businesses of the consequences of employing illegal workers and potentially harming the offending business’s reputation.

Would I still be prosecuted if I agree to pay back the overpayment?

Paying back any overpayment to illegal workers does not exempt employers from prosecution. The act of illegal employment itself is a breach, and penalties apply regardless of subsequent financial rectifications made by the employer.

What happens if you get caught working illegally in the UK?

Individuals caught working illegally in the UK face serious consequences, including detention, removal from the UK, and a re-entry ban. They may also need help to secure legal employment in the future, which can affect their long-term prospects in the UK and elsewhere.

Penalty for helping an illegal immigrant UK

Assisting someone to remain in the UK illegally, including through employment, can lead to criminal charges. Penalties can include substantial fines and imprisonment, highlighting the need for individuals and businesses to ensure full compliance with immigration laws.

Does a civil penalty go on your record in the UK?

While a civil penalty is not a criminal conviction, it can affect an employer’s record with immigration authorities. It may influence future immigration checks and the ability to sponsor visa applicants, affecting the business’s operational capabilities.

Fine for employing someone illegally

The fine for employing someone illegally, currently up to £60,000 per illegal worker, is a significant financial burden. Employers must conduct proper right-to-work checks to avoid these penalties.

Civil Penalties Lawyers In London

To manage the risk of incurring civil penalties and ensure compliance with UK immigration laws, employers should:

  1. Conduct thorough right-to-work checks before employing someone.
  2. Keep accurate records of all employment checks.
  3. Seek legal advice if there’s uncertainty about an employee’s right-to-work status.
  4. Implement illegal workers policy.
  5. Train HR staff on compliance with immigration laws.

Given the complexities surrounding civil penalties and the potential for significant financial impact, consulting with immigration law specialists like Cromwell Wilkes can provide employers with the expertise to navigate these challenges effectively. 

Our team can offer guidance on conducting proper checks, responding to allegations of illegal employment, and minimising the risk of penalties.

  • Ensuring compliance with right-to-work checks to avoid penalties.
  • Advising on the correct response to referral and civil penalty notices.
  • Representing businesses in objections to civil penalties and safeguarding their reputation.

Please complete this form with as much information as possible for your consultation. This will enable your appointed Cromwell Wilkes lawyer to give you the best service and support. Rest assured that we will prioritise your inquiry, and you should receive a response within 24-48 hours.