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29 January 2024

Fines for employing illegal workers set to triple on 13 February 2024

3 mins

What are the fines and why?

Detering ‘illegal migration’ remains a number one priority for the current UK government. Following their introduction in 2008, penalties for employing staff who do not possess the correct visas to work in the UK, have been a feature of the UK’s immigration law regime.

As we have previously reported, in 2023 the UK government announced it would introduce increases to the fine system for employing those without the correct immigration permission. The mind-boggling surge in fees will now see businesses being fined £45,000 per person, up from £15,000. This represents a three-fold increase in the fine per employee who does not hold the necessary immigration permission to work in the particular role. The inflation busting hike doesn’t stop there – businesses considered repeat offenders will be fined up to a maximum of £60,000 per worker – also a thrice hike and up from a current maximum of £20,000 per worker.

And there’s more

The fines don’t stop there either – property owners who rent to overseas nationals who do not have the right to rent in the UK will also be subject to considerable fine increases. The highlights are a first time fine of £5,000 per lodger (up from £80 per lodger) and a first time fine of £10,000 per occupier (from £1,000 per occupier). Those land-persons caught as repeat offenders will face increased fines of £10,000 per lodger (up from £500 per lodger) and £20,000 per occupier (from £3,000 per occupier).

What’s next?

These impending fine changes are part of a jigsaw of Home Office changes designed to ‘tighten’ the UK’s borders, to deliver a managed migration programme and to target illegal working. They are due alongside increases in the Immigration Health Surcharge due to come into effect on 6 February 2024 (see here) and the increases in the minimum salary threshold for sponsored Skilled Workers and the Minimum Income Threshold for family members of British nationals and those with the right to remain in the UK permanently (see here).

If you have any questions as to how this may impact you or your business please contact Tanya Goldfarb, Head of Bindmans Business Immigration Team or your usual Bindmans immigration team contact.

For more information on our Business Immigration services, please visit our page here.

Bindmans is not responsible for the information at the links, which is subject to change at any moment or for ensuring that the relevant links are operational.

Please note that this comment is provided for informational purposes only and must not be relied on as legal advice.

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