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New Right-to-Work Laws: What This Means for Employers

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author:by Kerri Rankin

Adjustments to UK immigration law in 2024 will significantly impact employers, especially concerning illegal working civil penalties.

For all businesses, staying ahead of legislative changes like these are crucial.

As specialists in the recruitment industry, we’re here to support businesses to stay up-to-date, reliably informed, and most importantly, compliant with the new changes.

Legislation Changes

The Home Office recently announced significant updates regarding the proof of Right-to-Work in the UK. 

These changes align with the UK government’s broader overhaul of the immigration system, signifying a broader commitment to ensuring secure and compliant workplace practices.

From 22 January 2024 the penalties for employing illegal workers triple to £60,000 per illegal worker.

Consequently, employers must now be more diligent in conducting right-to-work checks, adhering to Home Office guidance to avoid substantial fines.

Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick's warns: "Ignorance is not a defence. With the upcoming tougher penalties, it's vital to conduct appropriate checks."

What’s Important to Know

The UK government will raise the maximum fine for illegal employment from £20,000 to £60,000 and the starting penalty for a first offense increases from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker.

The goal is to protect businesses from legal and reputational risks. Employers face up to five years of imprisonment for knowingly employing someone without the right to work.

Per Home Office guidelines, employers can avoid civil penalties by establishing a statutory excuse through proper right-to-work checks.

Verification methods include:

  • Looking at original documents

  • Using a registered ID service provider (for British or Irish citizens)

  • Using the Home Office online checking service for individuals outside of the UK

It is important to keep accurate records and conduct follow-up checks for employees with time-limited immigration permissions.

Your Responsibility as an Employer

To minimise risk, employers are advised to review their current recruitment practices and their right-to-work checking processes.

Those responsible for conducting right-to-work checks should be knowledgeable and professionally trained to avoid mishaps.

How NRG Can Help

We have the benefit of offering vetting and pre-employment checks as part of the offering from our sister business, GreenbeanRPO. Their dedicated vetting team will work closely with you to understand your compliance criteria and timelines, ensuring that we provide a comprehensive suite of checks that align with your organisation's standards. As part of this service, we ensure your hiring process remains compliant and efficient, avoiding potential fines and legal challenges.

With our expertise, you can be confident that your new hires are fully verified to work in the UK.
For more insight, get in touch with our expert team by emailing Kerri Rankin here.