Following the decision to raise visa application fees and the annual cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) by 15-20% (announced on 13 July 2023, although no date has been set for when the increases come into effect), the Home Secretary delivered another cost hike to those interacting with the world of UK immigration matters.
Yesterday, Monday 7 August 2023, the Home Office announced that from the beginning of 2024, fines for illegal working and illegal renting are to be more than tripled from the current penalties, which were last increased in 2014. Citing the same rhetoric we have heard from the government that introduced the Illegal Migration Bill, the Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick said:
‘Making it harder for illegal migrants to work and operate in the UK is vital to deterring dangerous, unnecessary small boat crossings. Unscrupulous landlords and employers who allow illegal working and renting enable the business model of the evil people smugglers to continue. There is no excuse for not conducting the appropriate checks and those in breach will now face significantly tougher penalties.’
You can read the statement here.
The headline notes are:
- For employers, the illegal working civil penalty, for a first offence, is to be increased to up to £45,000 per illegal worker (up from £15,000)
- Repeat offences to be increased up to £60,000 per illegal worker (up from £20,000)
- For landlords, the fines will increase from to up to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier (up from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier)
- Repeat breaches will incur fines of up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier, (up from £500 and £3,000 respectively)
Bindmans will provide further details and analysis as more details emerge on both the penalties for employers and landlords, as well as visa application fees and the IHS.