Home Office promises to
improve its 'right to
work' checks

The Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has reported to the Home Office about the threat of illegal working in the UK.

He has suggested improvements that immigration compliance and enforcement (ICE) teams should make, while safeguarding potential victims of modern slavery or exploitation.

Bolt also notes that last year’s Windrush scandal has left other government departments and the public in general less supportive of immigration enforcement than they were previously.

The Home Office responded by saying it will publish an updated action plan within the next 12 months.

At the moment, employers have the responsibility of ensuring that they remain compliant with the rules surrounding ‘right to work’ checks. Those who do not comply be fined up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

David Bolt says that any improvements which are made to the current system must be as simple as possible, to reduce the scope for error in employers’ recruitment and employment processes.

The Home Office admits that it is heavily reliant on tip-offs or allegations from members of the public in order to catch illegal workers.

This is why restaurants and fast-food outlets are often their targets. ICE says it intends to deploy more staff to make unexpected visits to businesses in every sector in the future.

If you are found to be employing someone illegally and you have not carried out the prescribed checks, you may face sanctions including:

• a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker;
• in serious cases, a criminal conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to five years and an unlimited fine;
• closure of the business and a compliance order issued by the court;
• disqualification as a director;
• not being able to sponsor migrants;
• seizure of earnings made as a result of illegal working; and
• review and possible revocation of a licence in the alcohol and late-night refreshment, private hire vehicle and taxi sectors.

Speak to Smith Stone Walters about our bespoke immigration audit service. It is tailored to meet your business needs and budget, while helping you to avoid incurring penalties. 

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