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Increases to illegal working penalties

Fines under the right to work civil penalty scheme are to be tripled, from early 2024, for employers who breach the rules.

The penalty for employing someone illegally will rise from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker. Repeat breaches could attract a fine of up to £60,000, up from £20,000.

These increases only consider the civil liability. An employer can also face criminal liability if it knowingly employs someone who does not have the correct permission to work in the UK – up to five years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.

An employer can obtain a statutory excuse against liability for an illegal working civil penalty by carrying out right to work checks in line with Home Office guidance.