From April 6 2014, the maximum civil penalty for employing illegal migrant workers will double from £10,000 to £20,000. This change was headlined in the 2013 Home Office consultation, in response to which 62% of employers agreed that the maximum penalty should be increased for those that repeatedly breach the legislation.

The new upper limit for civil penalties will apply to employers that breach the illegal working rules on more than one occasion. The existing legislation requires all employers to undertake checks on each employee to satisfy themselves that the person is eligible to work in the United Kingdom.

In addition to these initial checks, employers must carry out a repeat document check at least once every 12 months for any employee whose leave to remain in the United Kingdom is limited in time. This requirement may possibly be removed and replaced by a check linked to the expiry of the employee's leave to remain, a change which 81% of employers responding to the consultation favoured.

For further information on this topic please contact Ilda De Sousa at Kingsley Napley by telephone (+44 20 7814 1200), fax (+44 20 7490 2288) or email (idesousa@kingsleynapley.co.uk). The Kingsley Napley website can be accessed at www.kingsleynapley.co.uk.