New guidance for employers on preventing illegal working published

New guidance for employers on preventing illegal working published


Author: Sarah Booth

The UK Border Agency has updated its guidance for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK.

On 28 October 2013 the UK Border Agency ("UKBA") published an updated version of its full guide for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK (the "Guide"). This new version replaces the previous one published in May 2012.

The Guide contains information on:

  • the law on illegal working;
  • the role and duty of employers;
  • the document checks which should be carried out;
  • images of the various documents which could be given;
  • the various types of immigration statuses held by people; and
  • the consequences if employers do not carry out document checks and are found to be employing an illegal worker.

The Guide also gives advice on avoiding discrimination, employing students, asylum seekers and refugees, those from the EEA and members of the armed forces.

The main changes to the contents of the Guide from the previous version include:

  • the restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian nationals ending on 31 December 2013;
  • restrictions on Croatian nationals which came into force on 1 July 2013; and
  • information on the fast payment option for paying a civil penalty.


Responsibility for ensuring workers have the right to work in the UK rests with employers. Those who are found to have employed someone without the right to work are liable to a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker and may also face criminal prosecution. Additionally, if an employer is a UKBA licensed sponsor, UKBA may withdraw the employer's sponsor licence if that employer is found to have illegally employed a person without the right to work.

An employer who is found to employ an illegal worker will have a statutory excuse against liability to pay a civil penalty if the employer has carried out checks in accordance with the requirements of the Guide.

Those involved in the recruitment process should be trained on and fully understand the obligations to check that an individual has the right to work. The Guide is therefore essential reading for all employers (particularly those employing non-UK nationals) to ensure that they are complying with immigration law.

Further information

Full guide for employers on preventing illegal working

About the Author

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Sarah Booth


03700 86 5743

Sarah is a solicitor in the commercial team, experienced in providing commercial contracts advice on a wide of strategic and business-critical commercial agreements. Her wide experience includes, IP & licensing agreements, IT contracts, franchising and outsourcing. She has particular knowledge of the aviation industry having undertaken an in-house secondment at a major UK airline and is experienced in drafting ground handling agreements, aircraft maintenance agreements and dealing with a wide range of aviation law issues.

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