Illegal Working Civil Penalty Fines Tripling from 2024

civil penalties increase


The Government has announced a threefold increase in the level of civil penalties it can impose on employers that breach their duties under the prevention of illegal working regime.

From the start of 2024, civil penalties for illegal working will increase from £15,000 per illegal employee to £45,000. Repeat offences will result in a fine of up to £60,000, which is double the existing fine of £20,000.


Employers’ right to work obligations

Employing people who don’t have a valid right to work and live in the UK is against the law.

A civil penalty may be imposed on employers who hire individuals who are not authorised to perform the work for which they are hired.

Additionally, if an employer hires someone they either know to be an illegal worker or have “reasonable cause to believe” does not have the proper immigration status, they are breaking the law.

In light of the increased fines, employers are advised to review their right to work processes to ensure continued compliance with their obligations and to avoid Home Office enforcement action.

Each employee’s right to work must be verified before they begin employment, and in some cases, follow-up checks will be required where the worker has a time-limited permission to work. To meet their right to work duties, employers must:

  • Perform right to work check on all potential employees before hiring.
  • Follow-up checks should be performed on workers whose permission to reside and work in the UK is temporary.
  • Keep records of all the inspections you perform.
  • Do not employ someone who you know, or have reason to suspect, is an illegal worker.


Need assistance?

DavidsonMorris are UK business immigration specialists. We offer a range of services to support effective immigration compliance, including Right to Work training, Right to Work audits and expert guidance on challenging civil penalties for illegal working. Contact us for expert advice.

Last updated: 8 August 2023


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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