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In a recent announcement, the Home Office has unveiled key updates regarding fines for illegal working, which are scheduled to take effect from 22 January 2024. As part of this transition, a comprehensive draft code of practice on preventing illegal working has been presented, pending approval by Parliament.
This code will be instrumental in guiding all right-to-work checks, including follow-up assessments to maintain a statutory excuse. Employers should refer to this code as it will be taken into account by the Home Office when determining the level of any fine.
Here's a glimpse into the essential aspects of the draft code:
- Establishing statutory excuse: The draft code explains how employers should conduct right to work checks in order to establish a statutory excuse against the civil liability for employing an illegal worker.
- Administration and calculation of civil penalties: Understanding how civil penalties are administered and calculated is crucial for businesses. The code provides insights into the mechanisms behind these penalties.
- Fine Structures: The Home Office confirms that the baseline for civil penalties will be £45,000 per worker for initial breaches and £60,000 per worker for repeated breaches. It's noteworthy that reductions may be applicable under specific conditions. For instance, mitigating factors or prompt payment in full within 21 days for a first penalty could lead to a reduction.