Government triples fines for employing illegal workers

16 February, 2024

Penalties for businesses found to be employing undocumented workers have significantly increased as part of a government effort to tackle exploitative employers.

From 13th February 2024, the fines tripled with initial breaches incurring a penalty of £45,000 per worker, escalating to £60,000 for subsequent offences. This marks the first adjustment in fines since 2014.

James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, has highlighted restaurants as a particular target for enforcement efforts.

Cleverly commented:

"We go looking at places where we know people work illegally. So often in the clothing trade, sometimes in the restaurant trade, in the building trade.

We know where these people go and typically work, often cash in hand, often undocumented, we go and find them, and we remove them."

Since the beginning of 2018, over 6,000 penalties have been issued to employers, totalling more than £105 million. In the first 11 months of 2023 alone, 1,471 penalties were imposed on employers, amounting to £26 million.

Michael Tomlinson, the Minister responsible for tackling illegal migration, noted a substantial rise of nearly 70% in government enforcement visits last year.

Tomlinson said:

“Carrying out the appropriate checks is simple, straightforward and a legal requirement – there is no excuse and those who don't will face these stringent penalties."

The government emphasised that the increased fines are designed to more accurately reflect the financial gains made by those who exploit illegal labour.

Source: The Caterer

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