Immigration Enforcement Update

Immigration Enforcement activity…

The Home Office published their quarterly declaration for January to March 2023 exposing businesses that have been raided by immigration enforcement officers and later served with a civil penalty for employing illegal workers.   

The statistics show that restaurants and takeaways make up 49.26% of the businesses that have been fined, totalling over £1million.  The other sectors include car washes, convenience stores, hair and beauty salons, construction companies and food delivery services. 

It’s estimated that 70% of immigration raids are unlawful, offering valid grounds to appeal upon, and with the Home Office set to triple the fine per illegal worker from £15,000 to £45,000 for first time offenders and from £20,000 to £60,000 for repeat offenders it is now more important than ever to ensure your governance procedures are in line with current employment and immigration legislation, and you challenge any wrongfully imposed civil penalty.   

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Right to work checks…

The initial right to work checks conducted on employees will provide your business with a statutory excuse should you later be served with a civil penalty, this will also give valid grounds to cancel the fine.

  • British nationals should provide their passport to you before employment begins.  You should scan a copy of the original document for your records and annotate the date of the check.  

  • Non-British nationals must provide a current identification document (biometric card, passport, visa etc.) and a share code before employment begins, which should be used to check their status on the Home Office online checking service here.  Ensure you retain evidence of the online check and cross reference the details to match the tangible version. 

  • All documents should be legitimate, original and unchanged.

  • Photos should be the same across all documents and look like the applicant.  

This is not an exhaustive list of requirements for conducting right to work checks.  You should check the current code of practice and make sure each check is tailored to the individual, or contact us to ensure you are adhering to current employment and immigration legislation.

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What to do if you have been raided and/or served with a civil penalty for illegal workers…

It’s typical after a raid to be sent an information request from the Home Office noting the individuals alleged to have been working illegally with a request to respond.  At this point you have the opportunity to confirm whether or not you are the employer.  If you are the employer you should attach the evidence from your right to work checks to provide your statutory excuse.  

Once you’ve responded, you’ll receive notification from the Home Office within 28 days.  At this point, the imposed civil penalty will be cancelled or you will be served with a civil penalty and the opportunity to pay the fine or submit an objection within 28 days.  

If you submit an objection against the decision from the Home Office, they will respond to you within 28 days.  The civil penalty fine will either be cancelled or you will have to pay the fine or appeal to a County Court. 

You have the right to seek legal advice throughout the entire process.  At Immigration Compliance we are able to uncover reasonable grounds for an objection and request details from the Home Office to aid your case whilst supporting and advising you at each step.  Our consultants consist of an ex-immigration officer and governance professionals who have lived experience.  We know that raids are hostile experiences, and we hear that business owners are left feeling aggrieved and let down afterwards.  We are able to empathise with our clients and empower them to know their rights.   

We can help you…. 

If you have been raided and served with a civil penalty or need advice regarding your right to work checks, contact us to see how we can help.  Our services are affordable and our reputation is rivalled amongst other leading law firms. 

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