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UNITED KINGDOM: Penalty for Illegal Working Doubles to £20,000 as Government Toughens Up on Employers

Beginning on April 6, 2014, the maximum civil penalty for employing unauthorized migrant workers will double from £10,000 to £20,000. This change was headlined in the Home Office consultation in 2013, in response to which 62% of employers agreed that the maximum penalty should be increased for those who repeatedly breach the law.

The new upper limit for civil penalties will apply to employers who breach the illegal working rules on more than one occasion. Under current law, all employers must undertake checks on each employee to satisfy themselves that the person is eligible to work in the UK.

In addition to these initial checks, employers must carry out a repeat document check at least once every 12 months for any employee whose leave to remain in the UK is limited in time. It is possible that this requirement could be removed and replaced by a check linked to the expiration of the employee's leave to remain, a change which 81% of employers responding to the consultation favored.

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