Employers can face a civil penalty if they have been found to be employing individuals who do not have permission to work.
A civil penalty can have a devastating impact on your business. You can receive a fine of up to £20,000 per worker. It may also result in criminal prosecution, enforced debt action, County Court Judgment or even disqualification of company directors. If you are a licenced sponsor then your licence can be revoked.
Employers can avoid liability for a civil penalty if they can demonstrate that the correct right to work checks were carried out before the individual commenced employment.
The Home Office may make an unannounced visit to your business and gather evidence of illegal working. They can then issue a referral notice which means that your case is being considered. You may then receive one of the following notices:
- a Civil Penalty Notice;
- a Warning Notice; or
- a No Action Notice.
Challenging a Civil Penalty
You can object to a civil penalty within 28 days if you have strong grounds. This could lead to a cancellation or reduction of the penalty. However, it could also lead to an increase in the penalty.
If the decision is maintained you can appeal it in the County Court.
It is important to act fast if you have been issued a referral notice or a civil penalty due to the stringent deadlines and the drastic impact that this could have on your business.
Templeton Legal Services can assist and represent you throughout the process if you have been issued a civil penalty. We also offer a range of services to assist your organisation with compliance with the law governing hiring migrant workers.