16th June 2014
Stricter punishments for employers exploiting illegal migrants
The Home Office has confirmed that employers found to be exploiting illegal migrants are to face stricter punishments starting from this April.
The civil penalty for employing migrants illegally is set to double to £20,000 per illegal worker, whilst the list of acceptable documents an employer must have checked should they wish to rely on a statutory defence against such a penalty is also set to be reduced. Partial compliance with document checks will also no longer constitute a mitigating factor.
Those found to be employing illegal migrants for the first time will face a maximum fine of £15,000, with employers only able to secure £5000 reductions by actively cooperation with Home Office investigations or reporting migrants they suspect to be working illegally. Other notable changes set to come into effect include obligating employers to re-examine the documents of non-EEA nationals at the end of their visas as opposed to on an annual basis.
The changes will inevitably place further pressure on businesses to adapt to more resilient procedures in order to ensure that anybody they employ has permission to work in the UK.