UK Business Faces £100,000 Fine for Employing Non EEA Illegal Workers

Earlier this month the Home Office Immigration Team conducted a raid on a UK recycling firm in Huddersfield which resulted in the arrest and detention of five illegal workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). The Home Office takes a harsh stance towards those suspected of living and working illegally in the UK and in the last several years have toughened up on UK business owners who are employing migrants from outside the EEA and are imposing tough civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants.

UK Business Raided for Suspected Illegal Workers

In February this year, the Home Office’s immigration enforcement team visited the premises of a recycling firm based in Huddersfield on suspicions that the firm may have been employing workers without the proper immigration documentation or the right to work.

Five men aged between 41 and 47 were arrested because they were found to have no right to reside or work in the UK and the men are confirmed to be Non-EEA nationals from Nigeria, The Republic of  Congo and Liberia.

Three of the men have already been removed from the UK. One of the two remaining men was released on Bail whilst his matter is being considered and he will have to report regularly to the Home Office in the meantime. The Home Office will also have imposed further conditions in order to ensure that the man will not abscond or continue to work without the appropriate visa in the UK.

UK Business Fined for Employing Illegal Workers

The Home Office have notified the business owners who were found to be employing the suspected illegal workers, that they are liable to pay fines of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker and could face criminal prosecution if it transpires that they failed to carry out the appropriate checks on their employees. This is a potential total penalty of £100,000.

Deputy Director Anita Bailey, from Immigration Enforcement, stated;

This successful operation reflects our ongoing work to identify and arrest people who abuse the UK’s immigration system.

Our efforts to tackle illegal working will not stop. Using illegal labour is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest businesses and cheats legitimate job seekers of employment opportunities.

Employers who ignore the rules, and do not carry out the simple checks to ensure their employees have the right to work in the UK, will face the consequences.

Are You a UK Business Served with a Penalty Notice from the Home Office

If you are a UK employer that is found employing an illegal migrant, you would get a ‘referral notice’  from the Home Office to let you know that your case is being considered. The Home Office may also fine you  (i.e. a civil penalty) of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.

The ‘civil penalty notice’ will give the employer payment options and tell you what do next. It will also tell you how to object to the civil penalty and how to appeal. The Home Office may also publish the employer’s details as a warning to other businesses not to employ illegal workers.

Those who are found to have ‘knowingly employed’ an illegal worker, could be sent to jail for up to 2 years and receive an unlimited fine. It is therefore, imperative that employers are aware of the current immigration rules and their duties.

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 these 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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