UK: New Measures to Tackle Illegal Working

The UK government’s new immigration bill will introduce a package of measures, one of which will be the introduction of the offence of illegal working which will carry a six-month jail sentence and an unlimited fine. New powers will provide for temporary shutdown of businesses suspected of employing illegal migrants. It also means that trading licences could be removed from takeaway shops, pubs and off-licences, which consistently fail to comply with immigration rules.

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has commented “… Illegal workers will face the prospect of a prison term and rogue employers could have their businesses closed, have their licences removed, or face prosecution if they continue to flout the law…”

Any defence to the discovery of illegal workers is also due to change. Employers will no longer be able to state that they did not know a particular employee was not permitted to work. It will be expected by the government that employers show they carried out full and proper checks before taking on any potential employees. The maximum sentence for employers found guilty will be increased from two to five years, in addition to the £20,000 fines already in operation.

The immigration bill proposes closing businesses found to be employing illegal migrants for a period of up to 48 hours while they prove the correct right to work checks have been conducted on staff. The Immigration Minister furthermore outlined “… Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt – if you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car…”

If you have any questions concerning the need to conduct full and proper right to work checks please do not hesitate to contact us.

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