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New rules on the offence of employing illegal workers and other changes under the Immigration Act 2016 take effect on 12 July 2016.
Employers will be guilty of an offence if they employ an illegal worker while having "reasonable cause to believe that the employee is disqualified from employment" because of their immigration status.
The change is intended to "make it easier to prove the offence", according to a Government factsheet on the Act.
Prior to 12 July, the Government had to show that an employer knew it was employing an illegal worker in order to prosecute for the offence.
The offence applies regardless of whether the worker is employed as an employee or as an apprentice, and whether the worker is employed through a written or an oral agreement.
Employers convicted under this offence may face a large financial penalty, and/or a maximum prison sentence of five years (up from two years).
The changes are part of the Government's broader initiative to crack down on illegal working.
Other changes taking effect on 12 July include expanded powers of immigration officers to search premises, including workplaces, and to confiscate evidence of immigration and employing illegal worker offences.
A new offence of illegal working (for employees) will also take effect on 12 July.
This offence carries a maximum sentence of six months' imprisonment. Individuals may a