The number of employers prosecuted for hiring illegal workers has risen dramatically this year, Personnel Today has learned.
Just four months after new immigration legislation was launched in February, 352 businesses have been caught employing illegal employees. Less than 15 businesses were caught in 2007.
Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, which introduced the UK’s new points-based system, the onus is on employers to make sure their employees are legally working for them.
Employers face fines of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker they employ, and more than £3.4m worth of fines have been dished out already, a UK Border Agency (UKBA) spokeswoman told Personnel Today.
“Businesses caught employing illegal workers have been issued a notice of potential liability, outlining their total fine,” she said.
Persistent offenders could be liable for a jail term and unlimited fines under a criminal offence, although no businesses have fallen foul of this law yet.
The UKBA website currently lists 30 employers across the UK, mainly restaurant owners, that have paid their fines. The other 322 cases have not been resolved, and so are not yet listed.