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Civil Penalty for Illegal Employment

AQ Archers > Business Immigration > Civil Penalty for Illegal Employment

Under the prevention of illegal working laws, businesses in the UK found to have employers without the legal right to work, may face a civil penalty. In addition, both employers and its employees risk criminal sanctions under section 21 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, and company directors may face disqualification.

From the perspective of civil law, the penalty can be as high as £20,000 per illegal worker. As a London-based law firm, AQ Archers can help your business to challenge a notice issued by the Home Office if you are suspected of having illegal workers.

What type of notices are issued by the Home Office if they suspect illegal working?

If the Home Office has reason to believe that the correct right to work checks were not carried out, or they were done incorrectly, you may be issued with a referral notice notifying you that the matter is being considered. As a result, you will receive one of the following notices:

  • Civil Penalty Notice – once your case is reviewed, if the Home Office finds that you are liable for illegal working, you will receive a Civil Penalty Notice outlining the amount of the penalty and when this must be paid.
  • Warning Notice – a formal warning that failure to carry out proper right to work checks in the next three years may result in a penalty of £20,000 per illegal worker
  • a No Action Notice.

What factors can reduce the penalty levied?

The amount of penalty depends on factors such as whether your business has previously breached right to work check requirements, and the extent to which you are otherwise complying with checks to stop illegal working. If you have previously complied with reporting requirements (i.e. suspicions of illegal working), the penalty may be reduced. If you have co-operated with proceedings, then the penalty may be reduced further. And if you can demonstrate you have effective systems in place for right to work checks, then the penalty may be reduced further or downgraded to a warning.

Can my business appeal a civil penalty for illegal employment?

Your Civil Penalty Notice will outline how you can appeal the decision. You will typically be able to raise an objection directly to the Home Office or bring an appeal to a County Court.

To object to a civil penalty to the Home Office, you will need to complete an objection form which must be filed with the Home Office within 28 days of the date of the Civil Penalty Notice. You will also need to provide evidence challenging the decision made.

If the Civil Penalty Notice is upheld by the Home Office, then you may be able to appeal to the County Court within 28 days of the decision.

How can AQ Archers assist with a civil penalty for illegal employment?

As a London based law firm specialising in business immigration, we will act quickly to resolve the matter on your behalf. If the Home Office has issued you with a Civil Penalty Notice, we will first listen to the details of your case and then determine a clear strategy to move your matter forward, including determining whether there is a statutory excuse. We will help you gather the necessary evidence and then formulate a robust objection to the Home Office. And if necessary, we will bring an appeal to the County Court on your behalf. We understand the worry and concern that may arise from a Civil Penalty Notice for suspected illegal employment, and will act quickly to remove the matter from your shoulders, allowing you to focus on your business.

If you require support and guidance after receiving a Referral or Civil Penalty Notice, or to discuss your case on a no-obligation basis, please speak to a member of our team today.