The Government has confirmed that it is to triple the civil penalties paid by employers who are found to be employing individuals in breach of the UK’s prevention of illegal working legislation.
In a press release dated 7 August, it was confirmed that ‘the civil penalty for employers will be raised to £45,000 per illegal worker for a first breach from £15,000, and up to £60,000 for repeat breaches from £20,000’.
Minister for Immigration, Robert Jenrick, is quoted as saying:
“Making it harder for illegal migrants to work and operate in the UK is vital to deterring dangerous, unnecessary small boat crossings. Unscrupulous landlords and employers who allow illegal working and renting enable the business model of the evil people smugglers to continue. There is no excuse for not conducting the appropriate checks and those in breach will now face significantly tougher penalties.”
According to the press release, the new increases are due to come into force at the start of 2024.
Nichola Carter, Senior Partner at Carter Thomas, said:
“It is essential that employers take this opportunity to review their systems and procedures and ensure that the right to work checks they are performing are fully compliant with the Home Office guidance. We see a lot of good attempts to be compliant. However, even a seemingly minor error, such as performing the check the day after a new starter has commenced work or taking only a partial copy of a relevant document, can expose the employer to a civil penalty if the individual does not have valid permission to work. We would recommend that employers conduct spot-checks to ensure that fully compliant steps are being taken. Our team regularly provides compliance reviews and provides detailed action plans and training to ensure exposure to penalties is minimised.”
There will also be an increase in the fines that landlords can receive if they rent a property to a person who does not have appropriate immigration permission.
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