On 16th May 2014, a number of changes to prevent illegal working in the UK came into force. The changes include amendments to the right to work checks and associated documents, and changes to civil penalty payments.
The changes are intended to support employers to make the correct checks on their employees to ensure that they have the right to work in the UK. If these checks are not carried out properly, or an employer is found to be employing someone who does not have the right to undertake the work in questions, they may be liable for a civil penalty.
Here is a breakdown of the main changes.
The Right to Work checks:
- A reduction in documents, i.e. List A and List B documents. List A is largely the same, however List B documents have been split into Group 1 and Group 2 documents:
- Group 1 documents = the time-limited statutory excuse from payment of civil penalty lasts until end of worker’s permission to be in UK and do the work in question (as evidenced in the document produced for the right to work check)
- Group 2 documents = the time-limited statutory excuse lasts for six months
- Removal of the requirement to conduct annual repeat check son employees who only have temporary leave to live and work in the UK
- An extension in grace period for conducting right to work checks for employees acquired as a result of a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment), from 28 to 60 days.
The Civil Penalty Payments:
- An increase in the maximum civil penalty for employing an illegal worker from £10,000 to £20,000 per worker
- A revised method for calculating civil penalty levels. Two mitigating factors can each lead to a £5k reduction:
- Whether the maximum penalty is applied will depend on whether the employer reported the suspect illegal worker to the Home Office Employer’s Helpline and
- his active co-operation with their investigation
- Introduction of a fast payment option – 30% reduction in civil penalty for payment in full within 21 days (not available to employers who have been found to be employing illegal workers in the last 3 years)
- Two revised Codes of Practice are now in force: the Code of Practice on preventing illegal working (the civil penalty scheme) and the Code of Practice on avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working.
Full details of the changes to prevent illegal working and the new requirements can be found on the Home Office website.
If you are an employer and are worried about the changes, one of our employment solicitors can help advise you to stay within the law. Our well established team of specialist employment solicitors have in-depth knowledge and experience in all aspects of employment law. To speak to our employment team, contact us on 0161 624 6811 or send us a message through our contact form.
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