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February 28, 2024
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Navigating New Waters: The Updated Civil Penalties for Employing Illegal Workers and What It Means for UK Employers

Quick Guide: What You Need to Do

Verify Right to Work: Use Share Codes for checking the current right to work status of potential hires.

Understand Share Codes: Obtain a basic understanding of Share Codes as digital confirmations of an individual's immigration status and work rights in the UK.

Stay Updated: Keep abreast of changes in legislation, particularly concerning civil penalties and employment verification requirements.

Document Verification: Ensure a meticulous approach to retaining copies of all right to work checks, whether through Share Code, manual, or digital routes.

Seek Support: Consider leveraging Verifile’s services to manage Right to Work compliance effectively.


In a move that has rippled across the UK job market, legislation enacted in February 2024 has significantly increased the stakes for employers. The maximum civil penalty for companies found employing illegal workers has surged to a staggering £60,000 per worker. This legislative change underscores the government's firm stance on illegal employment and its commitment to enforcing immigration laws more rigorously.

Understanding the Legislation

This legislative revision is not just a number change; it's a clear signal to employers about the importance of compliance in their hiring practices. With the penalty now doubled, the financial repercussions for non-compliance are more severe than ever. It's a wake-up call for businesses to scrutinize their employment verification processes and ensure they are beyond reproach.

In this context, it's worth noting the broader framework of this legislation, which aligns with the government's intensified efforts to combat illegal migration and employment. The Home Office has been clear about its strategy to deter illegal employment as a critical component of its immigration policy, aiming to create a fairer and more compliant job market.

The Share Code System: A Closer Look

In tandem with this legislative update, we seize the opportunity to delve into the nuances of the Share Code system — a pivotal tool in the employment verification process. 

What is a Share Code? A Share Code is a digital code provided by the UK government that allows employers to check a potential hire's right to work or rent status online.

Share Codes, which are accessible for a mere 90 days from their generation date, are critical for employers to verify the right to work status of their potential hires.

Recent Updates to Share Code Reports

Recent adjustments to how Share Code reports reflect a candidate's right to work, particularly for students, have made these documents even more crucial. Not every student visa holder is granted the same work rights, with some facing stringent restrictions. Employers must now pay closer attention to these reports to understand the specific conditions applied to each candidate, especially those on student visas contemplating a shift to Skilled Work or Graduate routes.

What Employers Need to Know

The recruitment landscape is fraught with pitfalls for the unwary. Employers must not only inquire about a candidate's right to work but also understand the type of visa and any associated restrictions. The Share Code report emerges as the first line of defence in ascertaining these details. However, it's the nuances—like the distinction between full-time permanent and part-time contracts—that demand careful consideration to navigate successfully.

Statutory Excuse: A Safety Net with Conditions

The concept of a "Statutory Excuse" offers employers a degree of protection against penalties, but it comes with its own set of strict requirements. From retaining clear copies of online right to work checks to ensuring all manual and digital checks are meticulously recorded, the pathway to securing a statutory excuse is narrow and winding.

To bolster the statutory excuse process, the recent legislative changes emphasize the importance of adhering to prescribed right to work checks. Employers are encouraged to utilize the digital verification options provided by the government, which offer a more streamlined and secure method of compliance.

The Perils of Non-Compliance

The consequences of failing to adhere to these stringent verification processes are dire. Employers found lacking in their diligence, whether through inadequate checks or employing individuals clearly ineligible to work, will find themselves without a statutory excuse and facing hefty penalties.

It's critical to understand that these enhanced penalties are part of a larger government effort to ensure a compliant and secure employment landscape. By stiffening the penalties, the aim is to deter employers from neglecting their legal responsibilities, thereby reducing the incidence of illegal working in the UK.

Conclusion: The Path Forward

In this ever-evolving legal and regulatory landscape, the importance of staying informed and vigilant cannot be overstated. Navigating these changes requires a keen understanding of the law, a meticulous approach to employment verification, and a commitment to compliance. 

We recognise the immense pressure HR professionals face, balancing the demand for meticulous compliance with the realities of a busy, stressful work environment. The path forward may seem daunting, but you are not alone in navigating these waters. Here’s how to stay afloat:

Utilise ResourcesVerifile’s services are invaluable allies in ensuring compliance. They offer tools, guidance, and expertise to simplify the verification process.

Leverage Technology: Digital verification methods, including the Share Code system, streamline the right to work checks. Embrace these technologies to reduce manual workload and mitigate the risk of errors.

Educate Your Team: Regular training sessions on immigration laws and right to work checks can empower your HR team. Knowledge is a powerful tool in preventing non-compliance.

Prioritise Well-Being: Remember, taking care of your HR team’s well-being is just as important as compliance. Encourage a culture of support, open communication, and reasonable workloads to maintain morale and efficiency.

In closing, while the responsibilities may seem overwhelming, support systems and resources are in place to guide you through. By embracing these tools and fostering a supportive work environment, you can navigate these new legislative waters with confidence and compliance.

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February 23, 2024
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The Art of Deception in the Job Market: Unveiling the World of Fake References

In the shadowy corners of the job market, a sinister trend is emerging with a force that can no longer be ignored. The recent case of a former manager from Letchworth Garden City, who exploited fake references to avoid imprisonment after committing £60,000 Covid grant fraud, has cast a spotlight on the murky world of deceit in professional environments. This incident not only underscores the audacity of such acts but also begs a larger question: How far will people go to deceive, and what can be done to stem the tide?

A Tale of Deception

Christopher Andoh-Wilson's story reads like a modern-day cautionary tale. By fabricating references, including one allegedly from the Mayor of Luton, Andoh-Wilson attempted to weave a web of lies around the legal system to lessen his punishment. This wasn't just about bending the truth; it was an orchestrated attempt to manipulate the system for personal gain. The audacity of using one's mother to impersonate a public official and producing a fake reference from a former employer speaks volumes about the lengths to which individuals are willing to go.

It's important to note that these fake references were not created for employment purposes but were instead aimed at deceiving the court, highlighting the extreme lengths people will go to for personal gain. This suggests that employers could be much softer targets, especially if they rely on verification processes based on candidates' nominated referees, who could be fictitious or complicit.

The Risk in References

The implications of fake references extend far beyond individual cases of fraud. They pose a systemic risk to the integrity of hiring processes and, by extension, the workplace environment itself. When references are no longer reliable, the foundation of trust that employment relationships are built on starts to crumble. It's a wake-up call for organisations and verification agencies to reassess their approach to vetting candidates.

Verifile's Vigilance

In response to these challenges, Verifile champions a rigorous verification process that scrutinises the legitimacy of references at their core. Unlike the cursory checks that have become the norm in some quarters, Verifile's approach delves deeper, ensuring that the source of a reference is authorized and legitimate. This meticulous method not only uncovers deceit but also reinforces the value of thoroughness in the screening process.

We've previously discussed the challenges of identity discrepancies and "alibi mills," emphasising the importance of being attuned to anomalies that could indicate deceit. Recognising these signs early in the application process can prevent problematic hires from becoming entrenched within a business.

Navigating the Minefield

Yet, the question remains: How can employers navigate this minefield? The answer lies in a combination of vigilance, technology, and a commitment to ethical hiring practices. Employers must be willing to look beyond the surface, leveraging technology to cross-verify information and maintaining a keen eye for discrepancies that might hint at deception.

Exploring "fake references" online reveals troubling insights, such as a Reddit thread advising on how to fabricate references for job applications. Suggestions include claiming employment at non-existent startups or businesses that have closed down, using obituary notices to cite unverifiable employment, and providing contact details of friends or family as fake employers. These strategies highlight the challenges employers face in distinguishing genuine candidates from those presenting false narratives.

A Call to Action 

The fight against fake references is not just about catching the culprits; it's about creating a culture of honesty and integrity in the professional world. It's a call to action for employers, verification agencies, and job seekers alike to uphold the principles of transparency and truthfulness.
As we move forward, let's take the lessons learned from the case of Christopher Andoh-Wilson as a reminder of the importance of integrity in our professional lives. Let's work together to ensure that the job market remains a place where merit and honesty prevail, not deception and fraud.
In the end, the true measure of our professional environment will be determined by our collective willingness to confront and overcome the challenges posed by those who seek to undermine it. It's a challenge we must accept with vigilance and determination.

Strategies for Mitigating the Risk of Fake References

Comprehensive Verification Process: Employers and verification agencies must adopt a thorough and methodical approach to reference checks. This involves verifying the legitimacy of the organisation and ensuring that the person providing the reference is authorised to do so.
Critical Analysis: Look beyond the surface of references. Analyse the content for consistency, accuracy, and authenticity. Pay attention to details that might signal a reference is fabricated, such as inconsistencies in dates, job titles, and responsibilities.
Technology Utilisation: Leverage technology to cross-verify information. Social media, professional networking sites, and public records can provide additional insights and help confirm the authenticity of the information provided.
Education and Awareness: Educate hiring managers and HR professionals on the signs of fake references and the importance of a diligent verification process. Awareness can empower individuals involved in the hiring process to approach references with a critical eye.
In conclusion, the fight against fake references and other forms of employment fraud is ongoing. It requires a multifaceted approach that combines technology, rigorous processes, and a culture of integrity and transparency. By adopting such strategies, employers and verification agencies can better safeguard against deceit, ensuring that their hiring decisions are based on accurate and truthful information.

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January 16, 2024
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Introducing Single Sign-On at Verifile

Streamline your login process and boost the security of your systems and data

At Verifile, we continually strive to enhance your user experience. We're excited to announce our customer portal now supports Single Sign-On (SSO).

What is Single Sign-On (SSO)?

Single sign-on is a secure authentication process that allows you to access multiple applications with a single set of login credentials. You can use your own identity provider (IDP) to effortlessly access our customer portal.

What does this mean for you?

  • Simplified access: Sign in once and seamlessly access our customer portal without juggling multiple usernames and passwords
  • Time savings: Streamline your login process and save time you can dedicate to your core activities.
  • Enhanced security: Maintain control over access and authentication, reducing the risk of unauthorised access.
  • User convenience: Enjoy a user-friendly experience with a single, unified login process, making our customer portal easier to navigate and use.

To learn more or to set up SSO for your account, please contact your customer success manager.

Ready to upgrade your experience?

Enjoy secure and convenient access with Verifile's SSO feature. 

We've implemented SSO for Microsoft Entra ID (formerly Azure Active Directory), Okta, and JumpCloud, and our solution supports any OIDC implementation.

We’re looking forward to bringing you a more streamlined and secure user experience.

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