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LEGAL UPDATE – Advertising campaign to stop businesses employing illegal workers

Advertising campaign to stop businesses employing illegal workers 

A new marketing campaign unveiled by the Government this month warns that businesses employing illegal workers face large fines of up to £10,000 and prison sentences of up to two years. This stark message is designed to drive home the changes to the rules for checking for illegal workers which come into effect on 29 February 2008. 

To build awareness of the changes, which will affect recruitment and employment practices, the Government has launched an advertising campaign this month, supported by a guidance document for employers: “Prevention Of Illegal Working Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006” 

Section 15 of the 2006 Act enables employers to establish an excuse against liability for payment of a civil penalty by checking and copying certain original documents before people start working.

The guidance document has been designed to help employers fully understand what documents prospective employees must be asked to produce. The guidance document makes essential reading for employers since the press campaign fails to make it clear that: (i) there will be some alterations to the two lists of authorised documents currently used, by virtue of changes made by the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2007; and (ii) the method of checking has changed in the way that the two lists work together. 

Under the new rules, document Lists 1 and 2 are replaced by new Lists A and B. If the person provides a document, or documents, from List A, this will establish an excuse for the duration of their employment. However if the person can only produce a document from List B , this will indicate that they only have  limited leave to be in the UK and the checks must be continued at least once every twelve months, until: (i) they provide a specified document from List A; or (ii) they leave employment. 

The guidance document  can be downloaded at:

http://www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/employersandsponsors/guidancefrom290208/guidance/summaryguidance0208.pdf?view=Binary

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