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Fines raised for employment of undocumented workers

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead Burton

New fines are set to come into force in early 2024 for firms who are found to have repeatedly employed illegal migrants. Businesses who are found to have done so could face increased fines. The civil penalty was previously £15,000 for each illegal worker for the first offence, which will now rise to £45,000. For repeated breaches, the fines will now triple from £20,000 to £60,000.

Since 2018, £74m has been issued in fines to employers for employing undocumented workers. Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick stated that ‘There is no excuse for not conducting the appropriate checks and those in breach will now face significantly tougher penalties.’

He also stated that the move would help deter perilous channel crossings by small boats. The procedure for right to work checks is not changing, therefore full checks must be carried out before any individual starts full-time, part-time, permanent, or temporary work, with equivalent right to rent checks for landlords to determine the eligibility of anyone they rent to.

The Illegal Migration Act 2023 was approved in parliament last month, including provisions that those removed from the UK will be blocked from returning to work or seeking British citizenship in the future.

There is currently no set date for these changes, but they are expected to come into force in early 2024.

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