Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, an employer may be fined through a civil penalty notice by the Home Office. Our Immigration Team has been consulted by numerous clients on how such penalties can be appealed or avoided in the first place. This article clarifies these concerns and highlights what you can do to get ahead of the curve to do what matters the most: running your business with no hassle.
When is a Civil Penalty Notice Issued?
A civil penalty notice is issued when it is found that an employer has hired a person who is working illegally in the UK without the relevant immigration authorisations. If you are found to have been at fault in such a scenario, you risk being fined £20,000 per purported illegal worker and having your sponsorship license withdrawn.
As an employer, it is imperative that you insulate yourself from any potentially adverse action and take the best possible route available to protect your business. Our highly experienced immigration team works closely with clients from start to finish, advising you on the specific merits of your case so that you never have to worry about a civil penalty notice in the first place.
Does an Employer Have a Defence Under Such Proceedings?
An employer may escape liability if it can be proved that they correctly carried out the right to work-checks relating to the concerned individual. This is a tiered process that the employer must carefully heed. It includesobtaining the original documents of a potential employee, such as a passport or an Immigration Status Document, that show the individual’s right to stay and work in the UK. These documents must be checked for their authenticity and copies of an employee’s documents must be made and secured safely for a period not less than 2 years after their employment has come to an end.
You must also ensure that the relevant work and residence permissions for an employee have not expired and that the photographs and date of birth provided by an applicant are consistent with their actual appearance.
Undertaking such a strenuous step constitutes a vital, pre-emptive step in securing yourself a statutory excuse if you are found to have hired an illegal worker. Ensuring watertight work-checks allows you to evade any reputational or financial repercussions in the first place.
There are different types of excuses within this head that you may avail. Our team of immigration lawyers can assist you with any queries regarding your case. We frequently advise clients on what documents they must check at regular stages to evade liability as well as how their work-checks would be classified by the Home Office if they wanted to rely on a statutory excuse.
I Have Been issued a Civil Penalty Notice. What Can I Do?
If you are found to not have carried out the correct right to work-checks, a civil penalty notice, mentioning the fine payable and the due date, may be issued to you. In such a case, a number of options are available to you. You may choose to object to the Home Office, appeal to a County Court, or make use of mitigating factors to submit to a decreased fine.
An objection carries the risk of the Home Office deciding to increase the initial fine. While this seems initially risky to a number of clients we have assisted, it may allow you to take up a number of additional grounds in defence. Vitally, an objection also constitutes a necessary step, under the Immigration Act 2014, before any right to appeal to a County Court can accrue. Such an appeal must be made within 28 days of a notice of objection to the Home Office.
It is in your best interest to ensure timely action in undertaking any one of the many courses of action open to you. Our team covers all matters relating to civil penalty notices and have been highly successful in helping employers undertake comprehensive checks to avoid adverse action in the first place. We have contested a plethora of successful objections and appeals against civil penalty notices and can offer you a bespoke consultation as to the merits of your case and how you can best proceed in the course of protecting your business.
Successful Evasion of Liability and Civil Penalty Appeals
We have helped numerous employers save tens of thousands of pounds they would have to pay as penalties. The key ingredient to success is having the right support. Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest.
We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of the merit of your application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your work-checks as well as any appeals and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. LEXVISA and LEXLAW are just minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is integral to success. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and develop a timely strategy for your successful defence or any appeal you want to pursue.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.