Why UK right to work checks are important
3,089 civil penalties issued in 2016
According to the UK Visas and Immigration Enforcement Agency’s quarterly reports, there were 3,089 civil penalties issued to employers for hiring illegal workers in 2016, generating fines of £50 million – a pretty nice income for the Home Office. The highest number of fines was issued in London and the South East region.
Fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker
The maximum fine for hiring illegal workers is £20,000 per illegal worker – so even a handful of illegal workers on the books could easily cripple a business. If an employer knowingly hires someone who does not have the right to work in the UK, the individual employer could face up to five years in jail (whereas the illegal worker would face six months).
Checking staff is a core employer duty
Checking that all the staff working for you have the right to work in the UK is one of the core duties of an employer. It’s not an extra, or a nice to have: it’s essential for all businesses, regardless of size or industry sector. As well as the penalties outlined above, any instance of employing an illegal worker will be recorded on the Home Office central system and will downgrade or revoke your license to hire any foreign nationals in the future. It will also trigger more regular spot checks by HMRC on an ongoing basis.