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Challenging Employer Civil Penalties

How to challenge employer civil penalties

Companies who are found to be employing someone who does not have permission to work in the UK may face a civil penalty. A civil penalty is a fine of up to £6,000 per illegal worker found to be employed by your company. Of course, if there are multiple illegal workers found to be employed by your company, the fines can quickly amount to damaging figures.

To avoid civil penalties, you should make all the correct right to work checks. More information on this can be found here.

If your company finds itself in a position of facing a civil penalty, you may decide to accept and pay the fine, or you can challenge the decision. You will have 28 days from the date you were issued a penalty to decide your course of action and act accordingly.

How to challenge a civil penalty

If you decide to challenge the civil penalty you were issued, you may decide to take one of the following actions.

  • Submit an objection to the Home Office to deny liability
    • Check whether the penalty is applicable to your company. A civil liability can be cancelled if the illegal worker found is not an employee of your company, for example if they are self-employed or a contractor.
  • Submit an objection to the Home Office to present your statutory excuse
    • If you carried out correct right to work checks and have evidence of the same, you will have a statutory excuse against a civil penalty. This acts as a full defence and will mean that you are not liable to pay the civil penalty.
  • Submit an objection to the Home Office to request one or more reductions to the penalty
    • Reduce the financial penalty, down to only £7,000, for first time offences.
      • A £10,000 reduction can be applied when your company cooperates with the Home Office.
      • By reporting the illegal worker to the Home Office you may benefit from a further £10,000 reduction.
      • By having effective right to work check systems, you may secure a further £10,000 reduction.
      • You may reduce the final penalty by 30% per illegal worker if you use a Home Office fast payment option.

How Freeths can help

Freeths Immigration Team can answer all your queries and concerns swiftly, with precision and care. We can advise your company on all the steps to take to avoid a civil penalty. 

Our Immigration Team can assist your business determine the best course of action, to minimise risks and damage to your company. If necessary, we will guide you through the process of challenging a civil penalty by submitting the appropriate objections to the Home Office.

Our expertise and guidance can ensure that your business does not find itself in a position of facing civil liabilities. We will ensure you have correct right to work checking systems in place, we can provide training to your staff so they are up to date with the legal requirements and are equipped with the tools to identify issues or discrepancies in right to work checks.

If you wish to discuss any concerns you may have in regard to civil penalties, or anything else, please contact our Immigration Team.

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