​Government Escalates Penalties for Employing Illegal Workers

​Government Escalates Penalties for Employing Illegal Workers

Posted by Emily on 14th Feb 2024

In a bold move to combat illegal employment, the government has significantly increased fines for businesses caught employing illegal workers. Starting from 13 February, the penalties have surged to £45,000 for a first offence and £60,000 for subsequent violations, marking the first hike since 2014. Home Secretary James Cleverly highlighted a particular focus on sectors like restaurants, clothing, and construction, which are known for illegal employment practices.

The crackdown has already seen over 6,000 civil penalties, totalling more than £105 million since 2018, and the past year alone has witnessed nearly 70% more enforcement visits, emphasising the government's commitment to eradicating illegal work.

The Home Office's announcement on 7 August 2023 unveiled a draft legislation set to triple fines for businesses and landlords harbouring illegal migrants. This legislation, effective from 22 January 2024, represents the largest overhaul of civil penalties in a decade. Employers will face steep fines for employing undocumented workers, from £15,000 to £45,000 for the first breach and up to £60,000 for repeated violations.

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The rationale behind these stringent measures is to dismantle the economic incentives for illegal migration, which not only undercuts lawful businesses but also supports the dangerous operations of people smugglers. The Home Office asserts that illegal employment and renting significantly contribute to the pull factors enticing migrants to undertake hazardous journeys to the UK.

To ensure compliance, the government underscores the simplicity of conducting eligibility checks for employment and renting, which can be done online in minutes. A new cross-government task force has been established to enhance immigration enforcement, alongside increased data sharing with the financial sector to prevent illegal migrants from accessing banking services.

The government's message is clear: there is no tolerance for illegal employment and renting practices, and businesses must adhere to legal requirements or face severe penalties.

We welcome your thoughts on this matter. Please leave your comments below.

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