Illegal Working

The new offence of illegal working came into force on 12 July 2016.

A person is an illegal worker if:

  • he is subject to immigration control and works when disqualified from doing so by reason of his immigration status; and
  • at the time he knows or has reasonable cause to believe that he is disqualified from working by reason of his immigration status.

The earnings of illegal workers can be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. An employer commits an offence where it employs someone knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the employee is an illegal worker. This is in addition to the notorious system of strict civil penalties enforced by the Border Agency of £20,000 per illegal worker.

There is government guidance about how to carry out right to work checks. If you would like information about this guidance or about an employer’s responsibilities generally, please contact Dermott Thomas or Clare Richards, our business solicitors in Ipswich.

Clare Richards is a partner and solicitor in the Business Services team

Suffolk Business Solicitors – If you need advice, the friendly and experienced solicitors at Barker Gotelee are on hand to help. Call the team on 01473 611211 or email