Call for evidence: non-compliance with right to work checks

13 December 2019


The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, David Bolt, has launched a ‘call for evidence’ in which he is asking for examples from organisations relating to the Home Office’s use of penalties and sanctions, and explicitly refers to the use of employer nudge letters.

All payroll and HR professionals understand that right to work checks must be undertaken prior to the employment of an individual. Dependent on that employee’s nationality, various forms of identification will need to be checked to ensure that they have sufficient right to work in the UK. Failure to adhere to the process of checking an employee’s right to work status and to retain accurate records could result in the non-compliant body facing considerable fines, and a custodial sentence may be imposed.

Penalties for employing illegal workers’ explains how, if the checks aren’t conducted correctly, or aren’t performed at all, businesses can be fined up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.  A ‘referral notice’ would be issued, which would be followed by a ‘civil penalty notice’, should the employer be deemed liable, which would allow 28 days for a response. The relevant business’s details may be published by Immigration Enforcement as a cautionary tale to other businesses to dissuade them from employing illegal workers and to encourage them to comply with the process of checking right to work status.

The sanctions that can be imposed for non-compliance in this area and possible detrimental effect to the reputation of employers show why it is so important for businesses to act in accordance with legislation during pre-employment right to work assessments.

As we prepare to leave Europe, it is important to understand the implications of right to work documentation that is required from EU citizens

.David Bolt said:

“I have recently begun an inspection of the Home Office’s use of sanctions and penalties to encourage and enforce compliance with border and immigration controls, and I would like to invite anyone with any relevant knowledge of this subject to write to me with their evidence.

 Some sanctions and penalties have featured in previous inspection reports, for example, my May 2019 report on Illegal Working. However, in this new inspection, I plan to look at the range of sanctions and penalties, focusing on its comprehensiveness, how consistently particular measures are applied and their impact.”

 If you have ever received an ‘employer nudge letter’ or indeed have experience of other penalties and sanctions relating to Borders and Immigration the Home Office would like to hear from you.

The contact details provided are:

Email: [email protected]   

Post: Sanctions and penalties evidence submission, ICIBI, 5th Floor, Globe House, 89 Eccleston Square, London, SW1V 1PN

The closing date for responses is by close of business on 5 January 2020.

CIPP comment

The CIPP is always eager to hear feedback from its members and to share in the experiences of payroll professionals. Have you ever had experience of sanctions or penalties from the Home Office, and have you ever received a ‘nudge letter’ relating to this issue? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.


Information provided in this news article may be subject to change. Please make note of the date of publication to ensure that you are viewing up to date information.