Why has the Home Office decided to triple fines for illegal working?

The Government has announced plans to impose civil penalties in 2024, on employers who decide to encourage illegal working. This is a breach of their duties as an employer, under the prevention of illegal working regime, and therefore they can face serious fines.

Ultimately, it is the Home Office’s intention to make it more challenging for those who are in the UK and do not have the permission to live or work. According to the Home Office, these changes have been implemented because of the following:

  1. Illegal working and renting are significant factors for migrants attempting to cross the Channel, where people smugglers will often use the promise of jobs and housing to lure people into making journeys.
  2. By increasing fines this will deter employers and landlords from engaging in these illegal practices.
  3. By hiring illegal workers, it significantly undercuts honest employers and puts vulnerable people at risk of exploitation, therefore cheating legitimate job seekers out of employment.

What kind of changes can be expected with the civil penalty fines?

Civil penalties for illegal working will rise from £15,000 per illegal employee to £45,000. Whereas repeat offences can result in fines of up to £60,000, which is double the original fine of £20,000.

Evidently, these increases are quite significant, but it is arguably a necessary approach by the Home Office to ensure that employers are constantly reviewing their systems, procedures and conducting the appropriate right to work checks in accordance with the guidance.

What is your obligation as an employer?

You must ensure as the employer, that you are only employing people who have right to work and live in the UK, otherwise you are breaching the law. In effect, a civil penalty can be imposed on you as an employer as you are hiring workers illegally, who are not authorised to perform the role for which they are hired.

Considering these increased fines, employers are strongly advised to review their right to work processes to ensure continued compliance with their obligations and to avoid any breaches. To ensure that this is done effectively, it is recommended that you conduct the necessary checks to verify the employee’s right to work before they commence their employment.

To meet your right to work duties, as an employer you must:

• Perform right to work checks on all potential employees before hiring.
• Conduct follow-up checks on workers whose permission to reside and work in the UK is temporary.
• Keep record of all inspections that you perform.
• Not employ someone who you may know, or have reason to suspect, is an illegal worker.

How can our team assist you?

At Bridge Partners, we understand the importance of performing right to work checks effectively and the risks involved when not conducted properly. Please do not hesitate to contact us today for friendly and professional advice.