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Recent Changes to Right to Work Fines

Struggling to navigate Right to Work fines as a UK employer? A topic that might not always be top of mind but is important, nonetheless. As HR professionals it’s our responsibility to ensure our employees have the legal right to work in the UK. To help you navigate the process, this blog will cover the recent update surrounding fines for hiring illegal workers. 

At some point, you may have had the opportunity to hire someone from abroad within your organisation. This can come with certain checks but most importantly, employers must conduct rigorous check to ensure all employees possess the legal right to work in the country. As of 13th February, these checks are of even greater importance with the fines for non-compliance having increased substantially.  

Previously, the penalties for employing illegal workers stood at £20,000 but from 13th February onwards, the fine has risen significantly. For the first breach of employing an individual without conducting right-to-work checks, the fine has now surged to an astounding £45,000 per illegal worker.  

Repeated offences could incur penalties reaching up to £60,000 per individual, imposing a considerable financial burden on businesses found in violation.

To avoid the risk of such crippling fines, we suggest employers use one of the prescribed methods for conducting right-to-work checks (RTWC):

  • Identity Service Provider RTWC: Employers can use identity service providers to verify the eligibility of workers.
  • Online right to work check using a share code: This method involves an online verification process using a unique share code provided by the employee.
  • In-Person Manual Document RTWC: Employers may opt for the traditional method of physically inspecting and verifying original documents to confirm the right to work status of employees.
  • Employer Checking Service RTWC: Utilising the employer checking service can provide employers with direct access to government databases to verify the immigration status of their workers.

It is imperative for employers to conduct follow-up checks on workers who possess temporary permission to reside and work in the UK. Failure to do so not only poses legal risks, but also threatens the reputation of your business.  

Ensuring compliance with right to work regulations is not just a legal obligation but a fundamental responsibility for businesses operating in the UK – you can find a full guide for employers here

If you would like further support with the process of conducting right to work checks, please contact our People and Culture Manager, Eleanor Taylor at [email protected] with any questions. 

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