Illegal working is not a matter to be taken lightly
Businesses need legal advice not only for when they’re facing a fine but also for when placing HR systems and reviewing evidence of employer’s right to work. Obtaining advice from our Business and Immigration specialists at the earliest opportunity is critical for an employer who has a Civil Penalty Notice.Our Immigration team also have training and experience in Employment Law. Therefore, we can offer advice on a variety of issues with relation to Illegal Working and Civil Penalties.
We work in accordance with the updated version of The Immigration Act which contains a wide range of measures and rules for businesses. It ensures businesses do not employ those who don’t have permission to work in the UK. However, it also prevents employers from exploiting vulnerable migrants. Additionally, the act makes illegal working a criminal offence in its own right and it’s punishable by a maximum custodial sentence of six months and/or a fine.
Important things to consider:
- Seek legal advice as soon as possible.
- The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 governs Illegal Working and Civil Penalties. It gives the Home Office the power to issue penalty notices against employers of foreign nationals who are working in the UK illegally.
- Check your employees have a right to work in the UK and make sure their documents are valid. It’s important that you carry out the necessary checks on your employees right to work in the UK. If you don’t you will find yourself facing the consequences of civil penalties.
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Illegal workers can be;
- students working more hours than what’s permitted and who have expired visas;
- people who work on a visitor’s visa;
- those overstaying their permission to stay;
- people entering the UK illegally and have had no immigration control;
- also, people who are legally in the UK but their right to employment, paid or unpaid, is not allowed.
All employers should follow a process to ensure that prospective employees have the right to work in the UK. They should obtain specific documents which establish the individual’s right to work. Additionally, they should check the validity of those documents and copy the appropriate documentation.
It’s very important to carry out these checks. However, if you don’t, you can receive a penalty by employing an illegal worker.
You may face civil penalties if you’re found guilty of employing someone who you knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ didn’t have the right to work in the UK. You can receive a jail sentence of up to five years and pay an unlimited fine. Also, you can face these charges if you had reason to believe that;
- they didn’t have leave permission to enter or remain in the UK;
- their leave had expired;
- they didn’t have permsision to do certain types of work;
- their papers were incorrect or false.
Additionally, you may get a ‘referral notice’ to let you know you may have to pay a civil penalty (fine) of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker. If you’re liable you’ll have 28 days to respond to a ‘civil penalty notice’. Also, it will provide you with information on your opportunity to object to the decision and appeal. Also, there are the commercial consequences as the Immigration Enforcement team can publish business details of those found to be employing illegal workers. If you don’t pay the penalty notice or comply with appeal deadlines you’ll be subject to enforcement action against you. Additionally, having civil penalties pending against you can have an adverse effect on your immigration status or any future immigration applications you apply for.
Our solicitors at Kidwells can assist you with appeals to civil penalties and represent you during court proceedings. Furthermore, we can help you complete the necessary ‘right to work’ checks and guide your management team through the process. This includes helping you to ensure original qualifying documents are checked and that those documents are valid in line with immigration criteria and presented with the applicant present. Finally, we’ll ensure your copies are kept and verification procedure recorded properly.
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