Penalties of more than £10 million were issued to UK businesses during the first half of last year for employing illegal workers – with more than £5 million hitting London and the South East alone.
The scale of the punishments meted out by the Home Office sound a clear warning to employers to be ever more vigilant in checking that their employees have a legal right to work in the UK.
This issue has become all the more important since the financial penalty for each illegal worker was doubled from £10,000 to £20,000 in May 2014 – albeit employers knowingly employing illegal workers may still face unlimited fines and the possibility of imprisonment.
Right to work checks should be compulsory for all UK businesses therefore in order to establish a statutory defence that the employer has done everything in its power to ensure that the worker is legally entitled to take up employment.
Understanding the types of work and the maximum number of hours that employees can carry out under the terms of their visas can be complicated, but will be key to ensuring compliance.
For more information about keeping your business compliant and avoiding exposure to these offences and fines please contact our Immigration team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7925 0303.