Employers Unaware of Penalties for Hiring Illegal Migrants
More than a month after the Government introduced additional penalties for employing illegal migrants, businesses are still not aware of the risks of breaking the law, employment law firm Croner has warned.
Under measures introduced in June, employers who hire illegal migrants without making sufficient checks on their employment status risk being ‘named and shamed’ on the UK Border Agency’s website.
Businesses that negligently hire illegal migrants also face fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker under the Government’s new immigration regulations, which came into force at the end of February. Employers who knowingly hire illegal workers can face an unlimited fine and a two–year prison sentence.
“Many employers are still unaware of February’s introduction of the system of civil penalties,”
said Croner spokesperson Clare Moore.
“The Government has not done enough to advertise the changes or to explain to businesses what they must do to comply. There is still a lot of confusion because the Government has failed to provide clear guidance to businesses.”
The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) agreed that more must be done to alert small firms to the risks they face if they recruit illegal migrants.
“ Name and shame is a new punishment, and the Government’s argument is that employers should know not to employ illegal workers,”
said BCC spokesman Sam Turvey.
“But businesses may not know the risks and it is up to the Government to inform.”
Responding to the criticism, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said the new penalties had been well publicised.
“To make sure businesses are aware of the rules we’ve run advertising campaigns in 2007 and 2008, including advertising in national newspapers, trade press titles and the radio. We’ve also sent direct mail to 400,000 businesses.”
said a UKBA spokesman.
For more information on the new penalties, visit the UK Border Agency website
For information on employing overseas workers, visit the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development website