The maximum civil penalty for illegally employing adults who do not have the right to work in the UK has increased from £10,000 to £20,000 for contraventions not occurring solely before 16 May 2014.  Two revised codes of practice for employers, on preventing illegal working and avoiding discrimination when carrying out recruitment checks, also came into force on 16 May (click here).

The revised code of practice on preventing illegal working includes guidance on the factors that will be considered by the Home Office when determining the amount of the civil penalty and sets out a reduced list of documents employers need to check if seeking to establish a defence. 

The previous requirement for employers to check the documents of those with only a temporary right to work every 12 months (as well as before they start employment) has been removed.  Instead, employers will only need to repeat the check when the original permission to work expires.  The new code also requires employers of overseas students with the right to work limited hours to request a copy of the student timetable, as evidence that the student is not working in excess of the permitted hours.

A significant change for those acquiring businesses or service contracts is that an employer will now have a “grace period” of 60 days to carry out fresh checks following a TUPE transfer, rather than the previous 28 day period.

A revised code of practice on avoiding discrimination when carrying out recruitment checks also came into force on 16 May.