Immigration Bill becomes law
What is the purpose of the legislation?
To make it harder for individuals who have no right to be in the UK to live here.
How will it do that?
By tackling all areas of life:
- Making it harder to employ illegal workers
- If an employer is found to have employed an illegal worker they are at risk of an increased custodial sentence. Previously the prison sentence was two years now it is five years.
- Prosecute employers who ‘turn a blind eye’ to employing illegal migrants, and increase custodial sentences.
- Close businesses that continue to flout the law through the use of illegal labour (see below).
- Make it a criminal offence to work illegally
- Seize wages from illegal working as the proceeds of crime.
- Ensure that licences for drivers and operators of taxis and private hire vehicles, and licences for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshment, are held by those who have the right to work in the UK and comply with immigration laws
- Ensure all public employees in customer-facing roles speak good English
- Impose a new skills levy on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country so we can reduce our reliance on imported labour, and boost the skills of young people in the UK
- Prevent illegal migrants opening bank accounts
- Prevent illegal migrants renting property
- Prevent illegal workers from obtaining a driving licence
When will an immigration officer be able to close a business?
An immigration officer will be able to close premises, for up to 48 hours, where illegal working is suspected, and the employer cannot provide evidence that right to work checks have been conducted, and:
- the employer has received one or more civil penalties for employing illegal workers in the last three years
- the employer has failed to pay a previous civil penalty, the period of 28 days to appeal has expired and there is no live appeal pending determination, or
- the employer has an unspent conviction for employing illegal workers.
During this period, it is up to the employer to produce the evidence of compliance that they were unable to provide during the visit. If the employer can do this earlier, the closure notice may be cancelled. If not, an application is then made to the courts to place the business under special compliance measures.
These tough new measures mean it is vital for employers to know how to comply with their statutory duty to prevent illegal working. Failing to do so could result in the closure of the business.
What will the ‘skills levy’ mean?
This is expected to take effect in April 2017. It will apply to those employers who ‘sponsor’ migrant workers to work in the UK. The charge will be £1,000 per worker per year unless the employer is small or charitable in which case it will be £364. However, no charge will be levied if the worker is in a PhD occupation, on an intra company transfer graduate trainee visa, or tier 4.
When will the legislation come into force?
It will come into force over the coming months. We will keep you informed of further developments.
This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur LLP accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommends that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client's own particular circumstances.