The Immigration Act 2016 has also recently been enacted. With effect from 12 July 2016, there will be a new offence of working in the UK illegally and the current criminal offence of knowingly hiring an illegal worker will be extended to apply where an employer employs someone whom they have reasonable cause to believe is an illegal worker; the maximum custodial sentence on indictment will also increase from two years to five years. Other provisions not yet commenced include a new power to impose a 48 hour closure of the premises of employers and the Secretary of State will have power to introduce an immigration skills charge on certain employers who sponsor skilled workers from outside of the European Economic Area, planned for April 2017 (although the vote for Brexit may obviously affect this).
Employers should take the opportunity to ensure HR systems are up to date and proper right to work checks are completed. HR and line managers may also need to be trained to identify circumstances giving rise to a "reasonable cause to believe" someone is an illegal worker, and what steps to take if they become aware of new information about an employee's immigration status.