Beware – fines for employing illegal workers about to triple

employing illegal workers

In this article, Victoria Brown warns employers that the fines for employing illegal workers are about to triple.

The Home Secretary has recently announced a threefold increase in the level of fines for employing illegal workers from 2024.  It is indeed already a criminal offence to employ illegal migrants. Employer can currently be fined £15K per illegal worker for a first breach and £20K for repeated breaches.  The intention is to triple these levels to;

Increase in 2024

First Breach   £45K
Second Breach   £60K

What should you be doing as an Employer?

An Employer has certain right to work obligations that they must adhere to.  Employing people who do not have a valid right to work and live in the UK is against the law.  Not only may an Employer receive a civil penalty, but if they know someone is an ‘illegal worker’ or have ‘reasonable cause to believe’ they are, then they are breaking the law.  This may lead to other sanctions.

Right to work checks

Employers need to ensure that they have right to work checks for ALL employees on file.  It is important that the checks are completed correctly and adhere to the Home Office checking process.  My advice would be to complete an audit of all employee files. If you have any missing documentation, then address it as a matter of urgency. 

If an Employer is found to have employed someone who does not have the right to work in the UK but can demonstrate the correct checks have been completed then it is likely the Employer will not be liable for the fine.

Follow-up checks

It is vital to perform any follow-up checks on workers that have temporary permission to reside and work in the UK.

Please also note that it is the responsibility of the new Employer when employees TUPE transfer.


You must keep all records of all inspections that you perform.  I would recommend using a HR software, such as oneHR, to do this, rather than rely on paper that may go missing over time. 

Contact the oneHR team today for further information about right to work checks or to receive a demo of oneHR to manage this data for you.

Call: 0330 107 1037


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