Employers, which includes individuals, could be hit with a fine of up to £10,000 for employing an illegal worker when strict new immigration rules take effect this Friday 29 February.
The Border and Immigration Agency have been running a national advertising campaign for the last few months warning empoyers to check ‘eligibility to work’ in order not to fall foul of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.
Under the rules, if an employer knowingly employs an illegal worker they are committing a criminal offence, which carries a two-year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently said:
“By stamping out illegal working we are making the UK a less attractive destination for illegal migration.
“The new civil penalties are a more effective way of dealing with employers who use slipshod or exploitative recruitment methods. Together with the introduction of compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals, there can be no excuse for not checking the identity of those applying for jobs.
“By working together with employers and others we have developed a system that delivers the migrants the UK needs, but which also keeps out those that it does not.”
Employers are also responsible for monitoring how long a foreign worker is entitled to work in the UK.