February 2008

Have you carried out compulsory checks on your workers?

February 29th sees a massive increase in the levels of fines that can be imposed on companies who employ workers who do not have the right to live and work in the UK.

The penalty for employing someone who does not have that right will be £10,000 for each person employed. It is also a criminal offence to knowingly employ illegal migrant labour, carrying a possible prison sentence of up to 2 years and/or an unlimited fine.

The reason for the increase in these penalties is to support the work of the new Border and Immigration Agency in their efforts to control illegal immigration. As Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, has said:

"The new civil penalties are a more effective way of dealing with employers who use slipshod or exploitative recruitment methods. Together with the introduction of compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals, there can be no excuse for not checking the identity of those applying for jobs."

To comply with the law, employers must take the following steps.

  • Ask to see certain specified documents belonging to potential employees (there are 2 lists of documents including passports, national ID cards and work permits).
  • Check that these documents are genuine and that they refer to the person identified.
  • Retain a copy of these documents.
  • Repeat the document checks at least once a year for those employees who have limited leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom.

Further information on the latest changes can be found on the Border and Immigration Agency website.

UK Training helps employers survive the weight of employment legislation

UK Training presents a seminar, Employment Law- A Survival Guide for Employers, which provides information, advice and guidance on this and all the other essential legislation with which employers must comply. Click here for full details.

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