Posted: Wednesday, 22 August 2018 @ 11:55
Last year I warned of the consequences of employing illegal workers, those illegal immigrants not entitled to work in the UK. See my blog here.
For many years the food and entertainment sector has been a hiding ground for illegal immigrants. Even in the sleepy Cotswolds the temptation may be too much for employers seeking to use cheap labour. The news that a local Italian restaurant has been served with a Civil Penalty Notice for allegedly employing 2 illegal Albanian workers reminds me of the possible consequences.
Following the Immigration Act 2016 it has become much easier to clamp down on employers using illegal immigrants, with amendments to the primary legislation found in the Immigration Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.
To remind you, it is an offence to employ another person who is disqualified from employment by reason of the employee's immigration status where the employer has reasonable cause to believe that is the case. If prosecuted in the courts the maximum penalty on indictment (before the Crown Court) is 5 years prison, a fine, or both. Before the magistrates the maximum is 12 months prison, a fine, or both.
But more likely is the possibility of the Home Office serving a civil penalty notice under Section 15 of the 2006 Act. This can involve a civil penalty of up to £20K per illegal worker. The only defence is if the employer can show that they complied with any prescribed requirements in relation to the employment, namely that the appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out. But this defence is not available if at any time prior to or during the employment the employer knew that the worker had no right to work.
The penalties involved could sink a business. The Home Office also has additional teeth. It could seek a review of any premises licence issued under the Licensing Act 2003 authorising the sale of alcohol or late night refreshment, with the possibility that it could be revoked by the local licensing authority. It could also object to any new premises licence or personal licence to the people involved in the immigration offence.
Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
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