Employers and Landlords: Be compliant or face a fine


3 mins

Posted on 08 Aug 2023

Employers and Landlords: Be compliant or face a fine

All employers and landlords have a responsibility to prevent those without lawful immigration status from working or renting in the UK. There is no excuse for employers and landlords not to conduct appropriate Right to work / Right to Rent checks, and those in breach will face significantly tougher penalties. This follows the Home Secretary’s announcement on Monday 7 August, that civil penalties are to be more than tripled in 2024 for allowing illegal migrants to work or rent a property in the UK.

What is the punishment for employing illegal workers?

Employers will face fines of £45,000 per illegal worker for the first breach and £60,000 per illegal worker for repeat breaches, where being fined before for employing other illegal workers within the previous three years. You even risk a prison sentence of up to five years, or having to pay an unlimited fine, if you are found guilty of employing someone who you knew, or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’, is illegal in the UK.

What is the fine for housing illegal tenants?

Landlords will face fines of £5,000 per illegal lodger in a private household for a first breach and £10,000 for repeat breaches, where being fined before for renting to other illegal workers within the previous three years. The fine per occupier in rented accommodation will increase to £10,000 for the first breach and £20,000 for repeat breaches, where being fined before for renting to other illegal migrants within the previous three years.

Immigration enforcement activity on the increase

Immigration enforcement activity has been stepped up with visits, including those targeting illegal working, now at their highest levels since 2019, and more people have been arrested in 2023 to date, than during the whole of 2022, as a result of this activity. In the first quarter of 2023, Immigration Enforcement teams made 1,303 enforcement visits, a 57% increase on the same period last year.

Since the start of 2018, almost 5,000 civil penalties have been issued to employers with a total value of £88.4m. Meanwhile, landlords have been hit with over 320 civil penalties worth a total of £215,500 in the same period.

It is now more important than ever for employers to complete the appropriate Right to Work Checks. Contact our Immigration team to assist with training and Mock-Audits to ensure your business is ready for unannounced Home Office visits and not at risk of losing your Sponsor Licence.

Anita de Atouguia

  • Partner & Head of Immigration
  • T: +44 (0)20 7778 7233
  • Email me

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Malini Skandachanmugarasan

  • Partner
  • T: +44 (0)20 7778 7224
  • Email me

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Alfreda Joubert

  • Partner
  • T: +44 (0)20 7778 7249
  • Email me

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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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