Increased penalties for hiring illegal workers

The government has introduced tougher sanctions for business employing illegal workers, including the doubling of fines.

Under the new rules introduced from 16 May 2014, the maximum civil penalty for employing an illegal worker has increased from £10,000 to £20,000 for each illegal worker. In addition, the ‘first warning’ process has been scrapped, and first-time offenders will face a minimum penalty of £3,500 for each illegal worker (£5,000 minus 30% for payment within 21 days).

The process for enforcing fines through the civil courts has been simplified by registering penalty notices with the court, after which enforcement action can be commenced immediately,including pursuing directors and partners personally in the event of the nonpayment of a civil penalty by the business.

The range of acceptable documents for checking purposes (‘List A’ and ‘List B’) has been reduced, and the new lists are on the reverse of the ‘New starter information’ form available in Citnet. The requirement for annual follow-up checks on employees with time-limited permission to work in the UK has been removed. Instead, ‘List B’ documents have been split into in two groups – Group 1 where the follow-up check date is based on the expiry date of the current document(s) and Group 2 where the statutory excuse expires after six months.

New rules have been introduced for students entering the UK on a student visa.For students who have limited permission to work during term-times, employers are now required to obtain and retain a copy of evidence from the student’s education sponsor, setting out their term and vacation times covering the period of study in the UKduring which they will be employed.

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