Rogue employers could have their businesses closed

27 August 2015

We previously reported that wages paid to illegal immigrants will be seized under the new Immigration Bill (due to be introduced in the autumn). A further step announced is that anyone prosecuted for working illegally will face a sentence of up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.

The Home Office highlights that using illegal labour exploits workers, denies work to UK citizens and legal migrants and drives down wages. New powers in the Bill will make it easier to prosecute an employer who knows, or reasonably suspects, that the person they employ has no permission to work in the UK.

The existing evidence requirement to prove this offence will be changed in order to boost prosecutions and the current maximum sentence will be increased from two to five years. These powers will operate alongside the existing system of heavy financial penalties.

Any employer who continues to flout the law and evade sanctions could see their business closed for up to 48 hours while they prove right to work checks have been conducted on staff. The worst offenders would then be placed under special measures as directed by the court, which could lead to continued closure and compliance checks.

Further new powers will also mean any pub, off-licence or late night takeaway that fails to comply with immigration laws or employs illegal workers could be stripped of their licence to operate. Consideration is also being given to extend these powers to cover minicab drivers and operators.