Full-service law firm Thorntons is hosting a free webinar about the UK’s Right to Work regulations amid soaring penalties for businesses that breach the rules.
The civil penalty for employers, which was last increased in 2014, will be raised to up to £45,000 per illegal worker for a first breach from £15,000, and up to £60,000 for repeat breaches from £20,000.
Details of the fines will be published on the UK Government’s website, creating reputational issues for affected firms.
In the UK it is up to employers to ensure members of their workforce are legally entitled to work in the country, but there have been numerous changes to the system in recent years.
Since Brexit, only British and Irish citizens have an automatic right to work in the UK. EU nationals who came to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 no longer automatically qualify.
In addition, the right to work varies depending on the type of immigration permission held. Many visa-holders have “restricted work rights”. This means there are limits placed on their right to work, such as the number of hours they can work or the role they can perform.
Among the Thorntons specialists speaking at the event are employment partner Chris Phillips, immigration specialists Louise Crichton and Jacqueline Moore and data protection director Morgan O’Neill. Guest speaker Chris McGookin from compliance software business Amiqus, which offers right to work checks, will also address the webinar.
Jacqueline Moore said: “It is now more important than ever for businesses to review their Right to Work procedures. Failing to do so could lead to fines big enough to bankrupt some operators.
“There have been many changes to how Right to Work checks should be conducted in recent years and businesses using out of date processes are not protected from penalties.
“We anticipate that sectors such as hospitality and care which rely on overseas workers will face additional scrutiny, but all businesses are at risk and must take extra care to ensure compliance.
“Investing in Right to Work should be as much of a priority as health and safety or data protection.”
According to the UK Government enforcement activity has been stepped up this year with more people arrested in 2023 to date than the whole of 2023. In the first quarter of 2023 eight Scottish businesses were fined £150,000.
Thorntons’ Right to Work webinar takes place 9.30-10.30am Wednesday 15 November and is suitable for HR and recruitment professionals, managers and business owners. Book your place here.