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29 September 2016

Unannounced immigration audits

The Home Office are cracking down on illegal working and are currently targeting the restaurant industry in particular. Immigration enforcement officials can audit employers unannounced at any time but there are things you can do to make sure your business is compliant.

In the midst of intense political pressure to reduce immigration, the Home Office are renewing their efforts to crack down on illegal workers and their UK employers. Employers can be fined up to £20,000 if they are found to be employing someone illegally and licensed sponsors may find their licence suspended or revoked, causing a raft of immigration and employment law issues. In addition, measures introduced in the Immigration Act 2016 mean that both employer and employee may be liable for prosecution if an individual works in the UK without permission to do so and the Home Office now have the power to shut down businesses which fail to comply with their right to work obligations, either temporarily or, in extreme cases, permanently.

Following recent high profile raids it is clear that the Home Office are targeting the restaurant industry in particular. We therefore advise all clients, but particularly those in the retail and leisure sectors, to take steps now to ensure that they are compliant and their business is protected in the event that immigration enforcement officers turn up at their door.

We can help employers protect themselves by:

  • Providing bespoke training on right to work compliance and document checks
  • Reviewing employee files to help identify and resolve any right to work issues
  • Conducting a mock audit to assess a business’s level of compliance and the likely outcome of a Home Office audit
  • Providing practical, commercial advice in the event of a Home Office investigation and liaising with immigration officials on the employer’s behalf