Described by David Cameron as the “centrepiece” of this year’s Queen's speech, the Immigration Bill looks set to establish a much tougher stance on immigration in the UK, with employers under greater scrutiny.
Employers break the law where they employ any individual who does not have the right to work in the UK. Currently, employers can be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker or could even face imprisonment. Under the proposed Bill, the Government has indicated “tough action” will be taken against businesses that use illegal labour - including more substantial fines than at present.
Although we await further detail on what precisely this “tough action” will entail, it is envisaged that employers will be under a greater level of scrutiny, with the numbers of employer prosecutions and fines increasing.
Employers should therefore pay closer attention than ever to the safeguards which they have in place against illegal working. Under current legislation employers are under a strict duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out document checks to confirm whether a person has a right to work in the UK.
Documents which should be checked are prescribed by legislation and vary in each case (for example, depending upon whether a person is an EEA national).
Where in doubt, it is important for employers take proper advice. Our dedicated Immigration Team (based in both our Leeds and Sheffield offices) is able to offer expert guidance on checks prescribed by legislation and to assist you in putting robust and compliant procedures in place.
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please contact Padma Tadi (Leeds) or Hannah Clifford (Sheffield) on 0370 1500 100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, Hannah.email@example.com