The arrival of the festive season is usually a time for merriment, but for employers it brings with it the challenges involved with sourcing additional staff to meet increased consumer demand.

The enforcement officer is coming to town

If you employ someone who does not have permission to undertake the work you are offering, you as an employer may be liable for a civil penalty. As from 16th May 2014, the penalty amount varies according to when the breach took place - £15,000 per illegal worker for a first breach in a three year period; or £20,000 per illegal worker for a second or subsequent breach in a three year period.

You may also be guilty of an offence of ‘knowingly’ employing an illegal worker and could face an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to two years.

As the penalties are substantial, it is important to understand your immigration duties and obligations. Here are our immigration top three tips to consider when employing new staff this Christmas.

The checks before Christmas

In the rush to hire staff on short notice it is easy for crucial right to work checks on any prospective employee to be forgotten. These must be carried out before their employment commences. You should obtain original prescribed documents from either List A or B, examine the documents carefully in the presence of the holder (in person or via live video link), take clear copies of the documents in a format which cannot be altered and record the date on which the check was made.

All I want for Christmas is you

All job applicants should be treated fairly and in the same way throughout your recruitment process (at all times). You should not make assumptions about a person's right to work in the UK on the basis of their colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins.

‘Rockin’ around employing students

If you employ international students, carefully check their visas for any restrictions on their right to work.

Those students with a limited right to work during term time must provide you, as their prospective employer, with one of the permitted forms of evidence to confirm their academic term and vacation times for the duration of their studies in the UK whilst they work.

If you have any questions or require any further advice about the issues raised in this article please contact Chetal Patel.

Chetal  Patel photo

Chetal Patel

Senior Associate

+44(0)20 7551 7741

View full information about Chetal Patel
Philip Trott photo

Philip Trott

Partner and Head of Immigration

+44(0)20 7551 7652

View full information about Philip Trott

Posted on 25/11/2014 in Legal Updates

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