The Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill received Royal Assent last month, making it a requirement for employers to supply information to the Home Office about the earnings of any employee suspected of having committed an offence under the Asylum and Immigration Act 1999.
The new statute also gives the Home Office the power to require employers to disclose "compulsory records" relating to any employee reasonably suspected of having illegally entered the UK.
Employers will receive a written notice from the Home Office specifying the information required, the manner in which it is to be provided, and period of time (not less than 10 working days) within which it is to be provided. Fines can be imposed for failing to respond in time or for failing to declare why the information is not available.
New powers will also enable police and immigration officers to enter business premises to search for and arrest offenders. They will be able to search work premises to inspect and seize employee records where they have arrested an immigration offender and reasonably believe an offence has been committed, or if they believe an employer has provided inaccurate or incomplete information.
The Home Office is still consulting on proposals to charge for work permit applications.