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Business immigration

Right to work checks


The Home Office’s prevention of illegal working applies to all UK employers regardless of whether they sponsor migrant workers. If found to be employing illegal workers, employers face a possible civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, criminal sanctions and restrictions on sponsoring overseas workers.

If you are a licensed sponsor or applying to become a sponsor, you are at a particularly high risk of UKVI conducting an immigration audit on your business. Failure to comply with immigration laws and sponsor duties could lead to your sponsor licence being revoked in addition to being levied with multiple civil penalties. This inevitably will cause disruption to your business and could damage your business reputation.

As part of our service we provide our business immigration clients, we often visit client premises to review their business’s methods of conducting right to work checks and provide a detailed report highlighting areas of concern. This helps clients understand which areas they can improve on and to correct issues which if left could lead to costly penalties in the future.

Compliance Training

To avoid any Home Office enforcement action, employers must carry out the prescribed right to work document checks in accordance with UKVI’s guidance. If UKVI immigration officers visit your premises and find you are employing or have employed an illegal worker in the past, a statutory excuse is established if you can show that you conducted right to work checks.

HR and those with responsibility for recruitment should have a thorough understanding of their right to work obligations, including the monitoring of visa expiry dates and appropriate follow-up checks. Our business immigration lawyers are often instructed by businesses to provide comprehensive training to key personnel and HR staff to ensure they are aware of not only what documents they need to check but also how to identify false documents and how to maintain a proper record.

Our lawyers regularly provide seminars and training sessions aimed at helping HR staff understand how to carry out prescribed document checks correctly.

Challenging UKVI Civil Penalty Notices

Recent changes in immigration laws demonstrate the Government’s tough attitude towards illegal working. Responding on time to a Home Office Information Request can reduce a penalty by £5,000 and avoid revocation of a Sponsor Licence.

Our immigration lawyers have a proven track record for successfully avoiding civil penalties. If you have received a Civil Penalty Notice, you will be given the chance to object within 28 days – it is always worth seeking legal advice as you may have a legitimate defence.

“The team makes it very easy to ask questions and understand the advice given.” 

Legal 500

Key contacts

Monica Atwal

Managing Partner

View profile

+44 118 960 4605

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