The Home Office may issue civil penalties of up to £20,000 if a worker is found to be working illegally or in breach of their conditions of leave to remain in the UK. It is also a criminal offence to knowingly employ someone who does not have the right to work in the UK. Failure to undertake right to work checks ca also result in compliance action being taken against employers who are licensed sponsors. As a result, employers are increasingly keen to ensure that they comply with the laws designed to prevent illegal working.
We regularly advise employers on the right to work checks which they should be carrying out and also assist in relation to drafting relevant policies and checklists. In particular we are currently advising employers on the approach to take in relation to hiring European nationals from 1 January 2021.
We also advise employers when employers are concerned that an employee may no longer have valid leave to remain in the UK or if they have reason to believe that the person may be working in breach of their conditions of leave.
We are also able to advise employers on the appropriate employment process to follow to minimise the risks of claims for discrimination and unfair dismissal, whilst also seeking to minimise the risk of the Home Office issuing a civil penalty. This is particularly important given the impact that a civil penalty could have on an employer who holds a sponsorship licence as there is a risk that if an employer is issued with a civil penalty the Home Office could either revoke the licence or downgrade the sponsor to a B rating.
We also advise employers in relation to making representations if they believe they have incorrectly been issued with a civil penalty.