In recent months, we have seen an increased number of clients receiving Immigration Enforcement letters from UK Visas & Immigration (‘UKVI’) stating that UKVI has reason to believe that a particular individual may not have the right to work in the UK. This suspicion has arisen due to shared information knowledge between UKVI and government agencies. More often or not, these letters are then triggers for civil penalty notices being issued in respect of illegal workers.

On 27 October 2016, UKVI published new guidance for its staff on ‘partnership working’ which can be accessed here. The guidance highlights UKVI’s commitment to ‘partnership working’ and the procedures the Immigration Enforcement officers will follow when working with the police or other agencies.

As the occurrence of employing an illegal worker in any particular sector exists, all employers should ensure that their workforce has the right to work in the UK. This is particularly important following UKVI’s focus on creating a hostile environment and targeting those individuals who may be disqualified from working in the UK.

An employer will commit an offence if it is aware or should have had reasonable cause to believe an individual is disqualified from working in the UK due to their immigration status. The criminal offence of “employing” someone illegally carries a potential sentence of five years imprisonment and/or a fine, as well as receiving a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

Our immigration team regularly advises clients on the right to work checks for employees; the team also conducts mock immigration audits and advises on responses to civil penalty notices issued from UKVI.

If you would like more information on any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Chetal Patel, a Senior Associate in the Immigration department.

Chetal  Patel photo

Chetal Patel


+44(0)20 7551 7741

View full information about Chetal Patel

Posted on 03/11/2016 in Legal Updates

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