Employers in the UK have a legal duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out checks on employees and prospective employees. These are known as the Right To Work Checks. These checks should be undertaken before employees commence employment.
What are they?
Obtaining a National Insurance number, and examining passports to ascertain whether somebody has a permit or Visa that enables them to work in the UK.
There is a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker imposed, if an employer employs someone without the right to undertake work for which they are employed.
With effect from 12th July 2016, the current liabilities are amended by the Immigration Act 2016 to extend the offence of knowingly employing such persons to include employers who have reasonable cause to believe that an employee is disqualified from employment by reason of their immigration status”.
The maximum term of imprisonment on indicting for a criminal immigration offence increases from 2 years to 5 years. There is provision for an unlimited fine, in addition to imprisonment.
The legislation brings in a new offence of illegal working. Where an individual works in the UK with the knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that they are doing so illegally then, with effect from 12th July 2016, they could be subject to a term of imprisonment of up to 6 months, and the courts may seize any earnings that they have accrued under the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
If you would like to discuss any employment law issues, please contact our Employment Law specialist team.
Author: Gareth Price, Email: