The Government has released information about a collaboration between the Insolvency Service and the Home Office that has led to the disqualification of 16 company directors in the last nine months. It is alleged that the directors ‘had collectively employed 52 illegal workers’.
Business Minister Jo Swinson is quoted as saying:
‘These directors had an unfair advantage over their competitors by employing illegal workers for low wages. Illegal working is not victimless. It is often exploitative, undercuts honest employers, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities and defrauds the taxpayer.
The public has a right to expect that those who break the law will face the consequences and we have worked closely in this case with our colleagues at the Home Office to achieve this disqualification.’
The announcement, which can be read in full here, states that:
‘Under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 company directors risk being disqualified if their conduct falls below accepted standards. A disqualification order can be made by a court in proceedings brought under the Act. The members of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are also covered by the Act, in the same way as company directors.
A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:
- act as a director of a company
- take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
- act as an insolvency practitioner
- be a receiver of a company’s property.’
Those caught employing individuals who do not have permission to work in the UK also risk civil penalties and, in cases where the employer has knowledge that the individual lacks permission to work, criminal prosecution. The Home Office also has the power to revoke the sponsor licence of any sponsor found to be breaching the rules.
Further information on the checks employers should perform to ensure all workers have permission to work in the UK can be found here.