Fines for UK Businesses Employing ‘Illegal’ Workers Up by 31% to £14m

In news reports today, it has been revealed that UK companies who were found employing illegal migrant workers, were fined more than £14m last year; this is a 31% increase on 2012. Information data obtained by employment services provider Parasol under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that 1,822 civil penalty notices were issued to UK-based employers between January and December 2013. It is no surprise that the UK government want to toughen civil penalties against businesses employing illegal migrants and the new Immigration Bill proves this. This is part of the government’s bigger plan to make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live and work in the United Kingdom.

UK Businesses Need to Carry out Thorough Immigration Checks

Statistics show that 1,822 civil penalty notices were issued to British employers between January and December 2013 which represents a 50% increase on the previous 12 months, when 1,216 penalties were imposed. The value of penalties issued – £14,107,750 – was up 31% on the £10,775,500 recouped by the Home Office in 2012.

Speaking on the data, Derek Kelly, managing director of Parasol stated:

“These findings illustrate the heightened level of scrutiny that employers are now under when it comes to illegal working. More than ever, it’s vital that companies carry out thorough checks and follow the correct procedures when hiring foreign nationals.”

UK Immigration Bill: Increased Civil Penalties

The government intends to toughen civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants once the Immigration Bill becomes law. The following is a summary of these proposals:

  • The maximum penalty for employing illegal workers will increase to £20,000;
  • The way civil penalties are calculated will be simplified;
  • The way unpaid penalties can be enforced in the civil courts will be simplified; and
  • There will be measures to allow recovery of a civil penalty from directors and partners of limited liability businesses following failure to pay by the businesses.

Immigration Legal Advice for UK Employers & Illegal Workers

If you are a UK business and have been affected by the Home Office’s raids, contact us to discuss this further. Business owners sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor migrants and must have a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. If the Home Office has contacted you in relation to carrying out a compliance visit at your business premises, contact us for legal advice.

Illegal migrants with strong Human Rights arguments ought to take legal advice and regularise their stay in the UK as soon as possible and before it is too late. Contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of regularising your stay.

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