All employers in the UK must ensure that the appropriate right to work checks are carried out on all new employees, regardless of their nationality, before they start work.

An employer who negligently hires an illegal worker will commit a civil offence and be liable to a fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker. They may also be committing a criminal offence if they knowingly hire an individual who has no right to work in the UK. If convicted of the latter offence, this carries a custodial sentence of up to two years and/or an unlimited fine. The UKVI publishes the names of all employers who have been fined on their website and during a recent survey, employers citied the threat of their damaged reputation as of greater significance than the fine.

Under current regulations annual checks must be carried out on all migrant workers with limited permission to remain in the UK.

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Prevent illegal working in UK