Harsher Penalties For Illegal Workers

August 14, 2023

New rules underline the importance of robust Right To Work checks

Keeping up with demand for workers, particularly in the construction industry, has been no mean feat for recruiters in the past year or so.

And whilst the Government recently relaxed the visa rules to help attract more overseas builders, carpenters, roofers and plasterers, they recently announced harsher penalties for firms employing illegal migrants. Under the new rules, which come into force next year, businesses will see the penalty rise from £15,000 for the first offence to £45,000 and repeat offenders will see fines triple from £20,000 to £60,000.


That means recruitment businesses must continue to be vigilant about hiring workers who have the right to work in the UK. Right to Work checks are a key part of the Crest Plus service for Umbrella and CIS contractors, so if we’re your payroll partner, you can rest assured that we’re doing everything right to keep your business safe.

Right to Work checks are a legal requirement for employers in the UK. These checks aim to confirm that an individual has the legal right to work here before they are hired. As the UK labour market embraces candidates from various nationalities, especially in sectors such as construction where we have a shortage of labour, these checks play a pivotal role in maintaining the integrity of the workforce.

Each contractor undergoes our rigorous assessment process which includes the need to submit identity documents so that we can check they have the right to work in the UK. We also check that they are properly registered with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), if that’s the appropriate and desired working option. It’s important because every member of the labour supply chain can be investigated if it’s thought that there is a breach in the rules, so it really does pay to know your payroll provider and understand that they take their obligations seriously.

Because we work in industries where weekly pay is the norm, we have fast and efficient processes for onboarding workers which includes the Right to Work checks.

The contractor can upload their documents to our secure RTW platform (Trust ID – a government-approved IDSP), which completes checks in near real-time, meaning there are no delays. If there is a query with the individual’s right to work, this will be picked up without delay but if all is well, and it usually is, the onboarding process can continue.

As part of the process, relevant documents such as passports and visas are scrutinised to verify an individual has the right to work in the UK. We keep the necessary records so all parties have the required audit trail, should the need arise.

Beyond the legal obligations and potential consequences, conducting Right to Work checks sends a powerful message to end hirers about your organisation’s commitment to compliance. So, it makes good business sense to understand this important area of compliance, educate your consultants (we are happy to offer training) and monitor compliance on an ongoing basis.

You can read the Employers Guide to Right to Work Checks or get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to talk to you in more detail about the compliant hiring of temporary workers and Right to Work checks in particular. Please get in touch on 01244 684700.

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