· 1 min read · News

Fines for employing illegal workers double to 22.1 million as employers slip up on identity checks


Recruiters and employers need to carry out more thorough checks of job candidates as the number of fines for employing illegal workers doubled in 2009 (from 11.2 million to 22.1 million), according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by office solutions provider Giant Precision.

The Government introduced a new system in March 2008 to reduce the number of illegal workers in the UK. This gave the UK Border Agency the power to issue civil penalties of £10,000 to employers for every illegal worker.

In 2009 the UK Border Agency imposed 2,210 civil penalties on employers of illegal workers totalling £22.1 million. This is almost double the number of civil penalties issued in 2008 when 1,164 civil penalties were issued, worth £11.2 million in fines. That is 1,046 more penalty notices and £10.9 million more in fines issued in just one year.

The year before the new civil penalty system was brought in, there were only 38 prosecutions for employing illegal immigrants. This means that there was a 2,963% increase in prosecutions in the first year of the new system alone.

Matthew Brown, managing director of Giant Precision, said: "These figures show that identity checking is fast becoming one of the biggest compliance risks for employers and recruitment suppliers."

"With immigration an increasingly thorny political issue, the level of fines for employing illegal workers is likely to rise still further. The manual, paper-based identity checks which recruiters and HR departments often still rely on, need to be adapted to this new reality."