illegal workers

New rules on illegal workers now in place

New rules on employing illegal workers and changes under the Immigration Act 2016 have now come into force in order to make it easier for officials to prove if employers have been employing individuals who are not legally allowed to work due to their immigration status.

Before the changes were made on the 12th July 2016, the Government had to prove that an employer was well aware that they were employing someone who does not have the right to work in the UK in order to prosecute.

With the revised legislation now in place, an employer will be found guilty of employing an illegal worker should they have ‘reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment’.

Any employer found to be in breach of the legislation regarding illegal workers will be subject to heavy fines and the possibility of a prison sentence of two to five years.

These changes are designed to deter employers from engaging the services of people whose immigration status may be questionable and to ensure that they carry out the relevant checks before offering employment.

The offence applies to employers regardless of the workers’ employment status – whether this be as a full or part time employee, an apprentice or if the employment terms were provided orally or in writing.

Another change to illegal workers’ legislation was also bought in on the 12th of July whereby government officials were given more power to enter and search premises where they believe illegal workers are being employed and also the right to collect evidence of immigration from the workplace.

For further information on how to conduct right to work checks on prospective new employees, contact us on 01782 338787 or email office@appointmentspersonnel.co.uk for help and support

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Emma Bonfiglio

About the author, Emma Bonfiglio

Managing Director at Appointments, Emma has spent 15 years building up a stellar reputation for commercial recruitment excellence across a variety of industries and sectors. There’s no staffing challenge Emma hasn’t encountered and her insight into the recruitment landscape has assisted countless clients achieve their goals over the years.


Specialising in the legislative and procedural side of business operations and through her extensive knowledge and continual training, Emma has a wealth of legal and contractual recruitment knowledge to help advise and support organisations of any size and in any industry.