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8 August, 2023

Illegal Migrant Worker Crackdown - What do employers need to know?

Illegal migrant worker crackdown – what do employers need to know?

Despite technology improving the quality of forged documents, innocent mistakes could prove ‘financially ruinous’ for firms that do not carry out proper checks.

The minister for immigration, Robert Jenrick, revealed a crackdown on illegal migrant workers

yesterday (7 August), which will see fines triple for employers.

The government release called the changes – which will also affect landlords – the “biggest shake up” of civil penalties in eight years.

Employers face a fine of £45,000 per illegal worker (up from £15,000) for a first breach and £60,000 for a repeat (up from £20,000).

Advancements in technology have resulted in an improved quality of forged documents, which in turn makes it challenging for employers, especially those without specific training, to distinguish between genuine and counterfeit documents. Some employers might inadvertently hire someone without the right to work because they were presented with what looked like genuine documents.

Understanding the consequences

The first step for HR and employers is to understand why people may not have, or may cease to have, the right to work in the UK - For example, their leave has expired, they were prohibited from working in certain sectors, they presented incorrect or false papers or they did not have permission to stay or even enter the UK.

Under current legislation, a company director could face five years in prison and an unlimited fine if they are found to have had “reasonable cause” to believe an employee did not have the right to work.

To establish a statutory excuse against a civil penalty, HR must do one of the following before the employee commences employment:

• A manual right-to-work check for everyone (the rule is obtain, check and copy the ID documents)

• A right-to-work check using digital identity document validation technology via the services of an identity service provider (British and Irish citizens only)

• A Home Office online right-to-work check (non-British and non-Irish citizens)

Contact Route 1 NOW on 01924 261 636 to see how we can help to ensure compliance in all areas of your business.