Home Office Spotlight on Employers and Civil Penalties
In February, the Home Office published its quarterly report on civil penalties which have been issued to businesses for the employment of illegal workers. The latest report covers the period from 1 April 2018 to 30 September 2018 and, during this period, the Midlands and East of England region had the highest number of penalties along with the highest number of illegal workers found after London and the South East region.
The total value of penalties issued in the Midlands and East of England region were £1,045,000.00 which was the second highest, again after the London and South East region. The Home Office continue to name and shame businesses which have been issued with civil penalties on their website and so, in addition to a heavy financial penalty, the business can also suffer significant reputational damage.
The Home Office are pressing ahead with many significant changes to the immigration system, with major changes to the Immigration Rules announced on 7 March 2019. Brexit is also constantly in the news but, nevertheless, the latest figures from the Home Office show that they are still continuing their crack-down on what they believe to be rogue employers.
In an environment where immigration is constantly in the media, it is ever more important for employers to ensure that they have systems in place to comply with Right to Work Checks. They must ensure that they have appropriate documentation in place to resist any challenge by the Home Office that they have been employing workers who have no permission to work in the UK.
The Home Office have powers to issue a civil penalty of up to £20,000.00 per illegal migrant worker and they also have the power to pursue criminal liability if employers knowingly employ workers who do not have permission to work in the UK.