Right to Work Checks

Right to work checks: Extended criminal liabilities for employers

On 12 July 2016, a  number of changes under the Immigration Act 2016 came into force, including extended criminal offences for employers in relation to illegal working.
The current criminal liabilities will be extended from "knowingly" employing an individual who does not have the right to undertake the work for which they are employed to include employers who have "reasonable cause to believe" that an employee is disqualified from employment by reason of their immigration status.    
In addition, the maximum term of imprisonment on indictment for a criminal immigration offence will increase from 2 to 5 years (and the potential for an unlimited fine in addition to such imprisonment remains).
A new criminal offence of illegal working, where an individual works in the UK with the knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that they are doing so illegally, has also been introduced with effect from 12 July 2016. This carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 6 months and allows for the individual's earnings to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

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