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Legal insights & industry updates

| 2 minutes read

UKVI publishes latest statistics on civil penalties

UK Visas and Immigration published its latest statistics on the number and value of civil penalties issued to companies for the period 1 October to 31 December 2021. The figures show that 105 penalties valued at £1,690,000 were issued in the UK during this period. The picture for Scotland shows that nine penalties were issued following the discovery of 12 illegal workers, resulting in penalties of £140,000 for the period.

Employers have a responsibility to prevent illegal working and can take steps to prevent illegal working by carrying out right to work checks on employees before they commence employment. In doing so, employers can establish a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty for employing a person not permitted to do the work in question.

The manner in which right to work checks are carried out will depend on the nationality and immigration status of the prospective employee and it is important for employers to note that changes were made to the way in which checks should be carried out in April 2022.

Key points to note from these changes are:

  • Manual right to work (RTW) checks are no longer permitted for certain employees. Employers need to use the Home Office online RTW check for EU nationals or holders of BRCs/BRPs and frontier worker permits;
  • Certified Identity Service Providers can be used to complete the digital identity verification and eligibility element of checks on behalf of employers for British and Irish nationals who hold valid passports or valid Irish passport cards;
  • Manual RTW checks are still required for British and Irish citizens holding expired passports.

As can be seen from the level of penalties issued by UVKI, the consequences of failing to carry out a right to work check or conduct a check properly can be significant. It is therefore important to get this right as if you have the correct process and correct way of storing documentation, you’ll have a statutory excuse against a civil penalty for illegal working. It’s more important than ever to get this right with the end of freedom of movement of workers (and more people needing permissions to work in the UK) and  the need to have good workplace governance in place if you wish to sponsor people (and their workplace visas).

Our team of specialist lawyers can provide an audit of your on-boarding and record keeping procedures to ensure that you are up to date with the changes and are complying with government requirements. As part of the process, we can provide advice on areas of concern and any changes that should be implemented. We can also provide bespoke guides to not only streamline the process but also ensure that those carrying out the checks have the confidence to do so. For further information on our services, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team.


immigration, right to work, onboarding