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October 20 2014

Higher Penalties for Employing Migrant Workers Illegally

Professional HR managers are unlikely to make an adverse assumption about a job candidate's immigration status on the basis of a name, accent or appearance.

By the same token, these employers will know how to stay compliant with both immigration and discrimination law, and are not likely to be affected by the doubling of the maximum civil penalty for employing a worker illegally (the penalty rises from £10,000 to £20,000 on 1 May 2014).

However, organisations may derive some benefit from a revised version of the statutory code of practice for employers on 'Avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working', which has been released in draft form to coincide with the increased penalties. There is little new in the code but its central point is a solid one. It advises employers not to make assumptions about immigration status and to ask all job candidates to prove their right to work in the UK by producing specified documents before starting work. It also says that job applicants can be asked to provide documents at any stage before they start work.