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How To Know If You’re Employing Illegal Immigrants

Image of a passport with a flight ticket.

There are immigration rules for preventing illegal working and employers operate under arduous duties in order to prevent illegal working. Employers that are found to have breached the immigration compliance duties and are alleged to be employing illegal immigrants, will face serious Home Office penalties. It is important to know if you’re employing illegal immigrants so that you avoid the penalties.


How to Avoid Employing Illegal Immigrants

When you carry out prescribed document checks, these required steps must be undertaken:

  • Acquire an original document or supporting documents in agreement with the home office approved list.
  • Check the documents that are provided are valid.
  • Make a safe and secure copy of the documentation hardcopy or electronically. Make it a format that cannot be altered, such as a jpeg/pdf document or photocopy.
  • Make a consistent record of the date of when you carried out the check. This can be done by either creating a dated copy or holding a sperate record. You should keep a record of when any repeat checks are made.
  • Hold onto your copies and records until the duration of the individual’s employment and an extra 2 years when they leave. As these records and copies may need to be shown to the Home office if requested to enforce your statutory excuse.


Validity of Documents

The validity of documents is part of avoiding employing illegal immigrants. The validity of documentation is proof of the employee’s right to work. So, you must ensure that:

  • The documentation is real and original.
  • The documents have not been tampered with.
  • The person that will be presenting the documentation is the legal holder.
  • The details are reliable across multiple documents. E.g. photographs and dates of birth.
  • There is an explanation for any difference in names across many documents. You should pursue further documentation to explain any difference. E.g. marriage certificate. The documents must be copied and retained.


Penalties for Employing Illegal Immigrants

  • Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 you may be liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal employees. If you employ someone that does not have permission to be in the UK or be employed to work, then you could be at risk of this penalty.
  • Employers will have a chance to face criminal prosecution if they knew. For employing illegal immigrants, you could face up to 5 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.
  • Any civil or criminal penalties imposed for employing illegal immigrants can cause your business to face a number of other consequences.


Contact Us for Business Immigration Services

If you’re located in the West Midlands or the surrounding areas and you would like advice or help from our expert immigration solicitors, then please get in touch with us. We can provide professional immigration services and discuss your situation and needs.

Call us on 0121 356 4556 or you can email us at enquires@jmwilsonsolicitors.com. We’re always happy to help.


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