New illegal working offences come into force under Immigration Act

12 July 2016

The Immigration Act 2016 will today bring into force new sanctions on illegal working, prevent illegal migrants accessing services and introduce new measures to enforce immigration laws.

On Thursday 12 May 2016, the Immigration Bill received Royal Assent and is now known as the Immigration Act 2016. The Act will:

  • introduce new sanctions on illegal workers and rogue employers
  • provide better co-ordination of regulators that enforce workers’ rights
  • prevent illegal migrants in the UK from accessing housing, driving licences and bank accounts
  • introduce new measures to make it easier to enforce immigration laws and remove illegal migrants.

Full details of all the measures in the Immigration Act 2016, including the various amendments to the original bill, will be updated on GOV.UK shortly.

In the second half of 2015 over £21 million in penalties were issued to employers in the UK for hiring illegal workers.

UK Visas and Immigration and Immigration Enforcement publish a quarterly report showing the total number of fines (civil penalties) for illegal working given to employers in each region of the UK.

It is important to ensure the rules on preventing illegal working are adhered to as the consequences for non-compliance can be serious. Employers can face criminal prosecution and hefty fines; the maximum civil penalty for illegally employing an immigrant increased from £10,000 to £20,000 in May 2014.

See the UK Visas and Immigration and Immigration Enforcement’s employer’s guide to right to work checks for useful reminders of how to comply.