On Monday 7 August, the government announced that from early 2024, they will be substantially increasing maximum fines for anyone found to be employing those without permission to work in the UK. The maximum fine per worker for a first offence of illegal working is currently £15,000 and will be tripled to £45,000 per worker. For repeat offences, the maximum fine will also be tripling from £20,000 to £60,000 per worker.
There will also be increases in the maximum fines for landlords found to be renting accommodation to people without lawful immigration status. The maximum fine for hosting a lodger will sharply increase to £5,000 per lodger, up from £80. The maximum fine for illegally housing tenants in rented accommodation will increase to £10,000 per occupier – ten times the current maximum fine of £1,000.
Why is this happening?
The government have said that illegal working is a significant “pull factor” for illegal migration, and that this fine increase will help deter small boat crossings.
How do you prove your right to work or rent?
There is a complex system whereby employers and landlords can check specific documents. For those with digital status, they can apply to the Home Office to verify somebody’s immigration status.
British and Irish citizens
If you are a British or Irish citizen, then you would normally prove your right to work in the UK by showing your employer your passport.
Non British or Irish citizens
If you are not a British or Irish citizen, how you prove your permission to work in the UK will depend on the type of immigration status you hold:
Biometric Residence Permit and Biometric Residence Card holders
Previously, those with Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs) could present these cards to show their immigration status. With an increase in the use of technology for immigration checks, holders of these cards must now prove their right to work online, by sending their employer a share code. Employers cannot rely on sight of BRPs and BRCs for new right to work checks.
Pending immigration application or appeal
If you have an outstanding application to extend your lawful residence or are awaiting the outcome of an appeal, you may still have permission to work in the UK. Although you may not have a valid immigration document, your employer can use the Employer Checking Service to confirm you have ongoing permission to work. The results of the check either come back positive or negative, and are valid for six months. If your immigration status is not resolved within that time, your employer can make a repeat check through the online system and continue to employ you.
How we can help
If you do not have the immigration documents that we have listed above to prove your right to work or your evidence is in paper format and you want to update it, we may be able to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 020 7401 6887.