26 January 2015

With the current political spotlight on immigration, employers will want to be particularly careful about the processes that they have in place to avoid employing illegal workers. As well as negative publicity, there is also a financial impact. The penalty for unknowingly employing illegal workers has recently doubled from £10,000 to £20,000 per individual. 

To avoid such liabilities, employers should follow a three step process to ensure that prospective employees have the right to work in the UK:

  1. Obtain specific documents which establish the individual's right to work (usually their passport);
  2. Check the validity of those documents; and
  3. Copy the appropriate documentation.

The Home Office has produced helpful guidance to help employers carry out checks which can be found on the UK Government's website.

New duty on landlords to check immigration status of tenants

We recently reported that new rules will require residential landlords to check if their tenants have the legal right to live in the UK. If they don't check and someone doesn't have the right to live in the UK, the landlord faces a penalty of £3,000 per person. There is some comfort that accommodation provided in connection with a contract of employment is exempt from the 'right to rent' checks.

There is a phased introduction of the scheme and, from 1 December 2014, landlords in Birmingham, Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley and Wolverhampton should carry out the checks before granting new tenancy agreements. It is expected that the phased introduction will continue across the UK next year.

More detail can be found in the briefing note on our website.

For more information please contact Huw Cooke.

Key contact

Roger Bull

Roger Bull Managing Partner

  • Managing Partner 
  • Employment Disputes
  • Strategic HR Projects

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