Are you certain you have no Illegal workers, over stayers or leavers on your payroll?

3 mins

Posted on 17 Feb 2016

Employers may soon be in receipt of ‘nudge’ letters from the Home Office enquiring about named individuals on their payroll who may not have visas to work in the UK.

Home Office Letters querying ‘illegal workers’ based on HMRC information

Last week I attended a meeting presented by a Home Office Compliance Committee member who confirmed that HMRC are presently providing to the Home Office the names and details of any individuals who are appearing on PAYE or similar whom HMRC believe may not have permission to work in the UK. These names are being provided to UKVI who are in turn reaching out to Employers to request more information on these individuals by sending out ‘nudge’ letters. 

Employers and Sponsors should therefore be aware that should they receive these letters a detailed response must be provided with supporting documentation. Ultimately failure to provide a satisfactory response could lead to an unannounced Home Office audit of company premises should they suspect illegal working activity. 

Reporting Tier 2 Leavers on the SMS and ensuring removal from UK Payroll

I would therefore reiterate that Employers ensure that only those with permission to work in the UK are on UK Payroll to avoid any issues arising. It is particularly important to ensure that any ‘leavers’ from your company are removed from payroll in a timely manner. I have often come across situations where employers inadvertently place Business Visitors or retain Tier 2 leavers on UK payroll and this scenario would now leave a company open to investigation by HMRC and the Home Office.

With the Migration Advisory Committee recommending even tougher penalties on employers found to be employing illegal workers (including the closure of business premises and criminal penalties) Employers should be extra cautious in ensuring that they remain compliant. It is quite clear that there is now closer communication between the Home Office and other government departments including HMRC demonstrating a concerted effort by all parties to crack down on illegal working. 

Right to Work checks, Tier 2 Compliance requirements and Home Office visits

Doyle Clayton’s Business Immigration Compliance team regularly assist Employers including Tier 2 Sponsors with Right to Work Check enquiries, Tier 2 Compliance queries and assistance with Home Office audits. I have several years’ experience successfully representing clients including SMES and Fortune 100 companies with Tier 2 Home Office Audits including those who have sponsor licence downgrading, suspensions and revocation issues and would be pleased to advise or provide training to any companies who have any concerns in relation to this area or the forthcoming changes.

For more information please contact our immigration team on 0207 329 9090 or email me Anita Pali at

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The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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