News and Updates

Illegal working offences

With effect from 12 July 2016, the Immigration Act 2016 has made changes to the criminal offences that may be committed by employing and being an illegal worker.  An employer commits an offence if he employs an illegal worker and knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the person has no right to do the work in question. This means that an employer can no longer evade prosecution where the investigating agency cannot prove that the employer knew that the employee had no permission to work. The amended offence enables employers to be prosecuted where they have reasonable cause to believe that the employee could not undertake the employment, even where they have perhaps deliberately ignored information or circumstances that would have caused the employer to know that the employee lacked permission to work. The maximum sentence on indictment for this offence has been increased from 2 to 5 years.
Detailed guidance on illegal working and the checks that should be made by an employer on all new employees to ensure that it avoids employing an illegal worker or has a defence if it inadvertently does so can be found here.
For further information on the issues raised in this article, please contact us on 020 7925 8080 or by email at

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