Increase In The Civil Penalty For Employing Illegal Workers - Are You Carrying Out Identity Checks?

The maximum civil penalty for employing illegal workers has increased from £10,000 to £20,000.

As well as illegal immigrants, illegal workers include people who work on a visitor’s visa, students with expired visas and students working more hours than they are allowed to.

The increased penalty is likely to pave the way for more prosecutions and employers must ensure they are taking basic steps to prevent employing illegal workers. Showing that you are taking these precautions can also assist your defence in relation to a civil penalty or criminal prosecution. We recommend that you:

  • Request sight of right to work in UK documentation (either a passport (EU citizen) or Border Agency right (work visa documentation). Check the documents are originals, belong to the person who has given them to you and are in date. Check that photographs look like the applicant, the dates of birth are the same across all documents and any different names can be explained along with sight of the original document eg marriage certificate. You may also need to check the person has permission to do the type of work you are offering (including any limit on the number of hours they can work). For students you will need to see evidence of their study and vacation times;
  • Take a photocopy of this documentation and request sight of this on (at least) an annual basis to check it remains valid and up-to-date;
  • Include a clause in the employment contract/offer letter referencing that the employee confirms he/she has a right to work in the UK and further that if the position changes then the employee will inform the company.

Posted on 09/24/2014 by Ortolan

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