Penalties for Employing Illegal Immigrant Workers

The Government has announced a crackdown on firms employing illegal immigrants, how will this affect your business?

You may have seen articles in the news recently about the Government announcing plans to crack down on businesses that are denying work to British nationals, and hit businesses with the “full force” of the machine.

Before employing someone you must check that they have the right to work in the UK. To do this you will need to:

  1. See the worker’s original documents. There are a variety of documents that you can see (a list of these documents can be found here)
  2. Check the validity of these documents in the presence of the worker;  and 
  3. Take copies of the documents, these must retained.

Should you be found to have employed an illegal immigrant and you have failed to carry out these checks you may be may face a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per worker.

If you have any further questions on employing illegal immigrant workers and the penalties involved, contact our employment team today.

You may be aware that an employee can issue a claim for discrimination, but any applicant (or indeed any potential applicant) can also issue a claim for discrimination if they believe that they have been discriminated against in failing to get the job or by a discriminatory job description, in relation to a protected characteristic.

A list of protected characteristics can be found in the Equality Act 2010 and include:

  • Age;
  • Sex;
  • Disability;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Gender reassignment; and
  • Marriage or civil partnership


There are different types of discrimination:

  1. Direct discrimination, i.e. Sam believes that she failed to get the job as a builder because she is a woman;
  2. Indirect discrimination, i.e. Julie believes that she can’t apply for a job at Widgets&Bolts because she doesn’t have 5 GCSE’s at A-C level because she was born prior to 1971 and did O-Levels instead;
  3. Harassment – i.e Tom believes he failed to get the job as a hairdresser because he rejected the advances of the female manager who interviewed him;
  4. Victimisation – i.e Harry believes he failed to get the job because he told the hiring partner at Widgets&Bolts that is suing his former employer for dismissing him because he is in a wheelchair.

If you want to discuss any employment law, give our specialist employment team a call on 0113 244 9931.