UK: Home Office Squeeze on Businesses Hiring Illegal Workers

The Home Office has released their first quarterly report on Illegal Working Penalties in a bid to improve transparency and make employers aware of the risks. Although it is often difficult to avoid news stories about the various figures quoted on the UK”s illegal immigration populous, it is important to remember that there is an onus on employers to check the status of their employees.

It is imperative that the correct right to work checks are undergone for each new staff member or transferee. The cost of not maintaining a compliant HR department can be severe.

In the latest figures published by  the Home Office, for 1st October to 31st December 2014, employers were fined over £8 million across England and Wales. Around 716 illegal employees were found within this period.

In recent years it has become evident that although there is a fluctuating trend of offence, there is a  general rise in actioned civil penalties. Between 2008/09 although £16,700,000 of penalties were issued, however, under 8% of these were ever collected.  By 2012/13 only £10,800,000 worth of fines were issued and 58% of fines collected. Although in the 2013/14 only £5.4 million of £16.6 million was recovered during that year in fines, the Home Office has publically drawn attention to the fact that many businesses choose to pay back their fines over a protracted period and thus the figures may be skewed.

If you require any advice on your company”s compliance obligations do not hesitate to contact us.

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