The Home Office are considering strengthening the deterrent to employing illegal workers. The original introduction of the current civil penalty scheme was Feb 2008 and they have now issued a consultation document detailing the changes.
At a glance the proposals in this consultation include:
- increasing the size of the maximum civil penalty from £10,000 to £20,000
- simplifying the way in which civil penalties are calculated; Removal of the warning letter, increased discount for early payment from 20% to 30% and no discount for repeat offenders, please see extract image
- improving the recovery of unpaid civil penalties; objection must be done before an appeal can take place, no reduction if the employer contends that they are unable to pay, the ability to pay by instalments, if the debt is not recovered against the company then the ability to pursue the directors or partners for settlement (to prevent pheonixing companies or other means of evasion) – hence officers could be held jointly and severally liable
- reducing the range of acceptable documents for checking purposes; to include greater use of Biometric residents cards for non-EEA nationals and making these the default document in the next 2/3 years.
- removing annual follow-up checks on employees with time-limited permission to work in the UK – replacing this procedure with timely visa anniversary checks to ensure no visa overruns.
The link for the document can be found here: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/consultations/civil-penalties/consultation.pdf?view=Binary