The prevention of Illegal Working – Immigration, Asylum and nationality act 2006
On 29th February 2008 the law changes to further prevent illegal working. The changes introduce a civil penalty, for employers, of up to £10,000 per worker but also identify key documents to check to prove individuals eligibility for work.
Documentary evidence that these documents have been checked and show the individual is eligible to work gives employers a Statutory Excuse to avoid the penalty if the employee subsequently proves to be illegal.
“It’s absolutely critical the profile of this is raised; particularly in the print and packaging sectors where there are already a significant number of immigrant workers. There are large numbers of immigrants from EU countries who are eligible to work so it is easy to assume that anyone who claims to be a UK or EU national is eligible to work. Of course it can be a difficult subject to raise as no-one wants to admit to having been taken-in. However we have had cases of foreign nationals presenting convincing documentation which subsequently turned out to be forged. Almost daily we see reports of the government not identifying illegal immigrants so as an industry we must acknowledge this, take our heads out of the sand, and ensure correct procedures are in place.
Recruiters can assist with this but, cannot give an indemnity, it is the employer who is liable and so they must ensure they check and retain documentary evidence. Many of our clients carry out these checks as a matter of course for all employees whether UK nationals or not.
For once the Government’s guidance is reasonably clear, However employers should remember to check existing workers who are foreign nationals on time limited work permits. Employing someone after their work permit has expired also carries a penalty.”