A civil penalty for illegal employment can be extremely damaging for employers. Given the financial, operational and reputational impact, organisations can seek to challenge a civil penalty notice. The appeals process is, however, complex and time sensitive.

With so much at stake for your organisation, it is important to seek legal advice early on the appeal options open to you, to avoid delays and improve your chances of mounting a successful appeal.

What are Civil Penalties for Illegal Employment?

UK employers that have breached their immigration duties can be served a civil penalty for illegal employment. Employers must by law ensure all workers have relevant permissions to work lawfully in the UK by conducting effective Right to Work checks.

If your organisation is found to be employing illegal workers, you will be served a civil penalty for illegal employment of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

You could also face, among other consequences, criminal prosecution, disqualification of directors, revoked business licence and endure reputational damage of being ‘named and shamed’ on the Home Office list of offending organisations.

What you need to know about challenging a Civil Penalty for Immigration

Employers who are served a civil penalty for illegal employment are permitted to pursue an appeal. This can be to either lower the level of the original penalty, or to remove the penalty altogether. The level of the original penalty can however also be increased at the appeal stage.

Challenges have to be made on specific grounds, within specific timeframes, and be supported by relevant documentary evidence. The approach you take should be dependent on your organisation’s circumstances and the level of the civil penalty notice you have received.