Employers warned of fines for illegal workers

17 Apr 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The responsibility for hiring an individual who does not have the required UK work permit to undertake employment in this country is increasingly being shifted to employers themselves.

Services and helplines have been set up to make it easier for businesses to check the immigration status of their workers, but now the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has released details of fines imposed on businesses that have failed to take heed of the warnings and conduct the necessary checks.

According to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by back office solutions provider Giant, the UKBA has issued around 6,950 Notifications of Liability since 2008, amounting to a total of £65.3 million in fines.

In fact, in 2011 alone, a total of £12 million was imposed in fines on businesses as the coalition government sought to put the pressure on illegal immigration practices.

Matthew Brown, managing director at Giant, explained that employers and recruiters are now dealing with a very high burden of compliance and urged them to be careful.

“With unemployment high and immigration a burning political issue, employers and recruiters need to make doubly sure that candidates are fully vetted,” he said.

“Putting in place processes and systems to streamline background checking will be prohibitively expensive for the majority of employers and recruiters.”

Fines of up to £10,000 per employee can be imposed on businesses that fail to check the immigration documents or passport of their potential workers.