1.. Since 29 February 2008 all Employers in the UK have to undertake checks on all new Employees. These are known as ‘Right to Work’ checks before an Employee commences employment.
2. Any failure on the Employers’ part to carry out checks, properly and keep copies of right to work documents can and does result in civil and criminal liabilities for the Employer.
3. The Immigration Act 2016 extended criminal offences for Employers regarding illegal working. The criminal liability was extended in 2016 to include Employers who have reasonable cause to believe that an Employee is disqualified from employment by reason of their immigration status. If the Employee does so work in this belief they risk a maximum term of imprisonment of six months and their earnings can be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
4. The maximum term of imprisonment on indictment of an Employer for a criminal immigration offence was increased to five years from 12 May 2016.
5. A civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker can be imposed if an Employer employs someone without the right to undertake the work for which they are employed.
6. Employers also need to bear in mind checks should be carried out on every new Employee or applicant, regardless of their ethnic or national origin to avoid any potential race discrimination.
7. If an Employer fails to check every new Employee, non- compliance could result in proceedings being brought against them under the Equality Act 2010.
8. The checks to be undertaken are outlined in the Home Office revised Guidance dated which can be downloaded from:-
9. Any Employees who have a restriction on their eligibility to work in the UK need to have the status of their work permits checked at least once every twelve months. Employers should note that this forms an important part of the evidence which would be relied upon should the Home Office require proof of why you are continuing to employ someone.
10. The checks must be undertaken until the Employee is able to provide specified documentation indicating that they can remain permanently in the UK.
11. The Employee’s status can be checked by the Home Office Employers Checking Service: https://www.gov.uk/Employee-immigration-employment-status
“Patricia White’s blog posts do not constitute legal advice and are no substitute for independent legal advice being sought”.