New Right To Work Guidance Published By The Home Office

by Sophie Clarke

20 February 2024

The Home Office published new guidance for conducting right to work checks on 8 February 2024. The guidance applies to right to work checks conducted on or after 13 February 2024. In this article, we have summarised the main updates to the guidance.

Civil Penalties for Non-Compliance

The Home Office have confirmed that an employer who is issued with a penalty notice for a breach of right to work legislation will be subject to a maximum penalty of £45,000 per illegal worker for the first breach. Further breaches will attract a maximum penalty of £60,000 per illegal worker. The new penalty will not apply if the illegal worker’s employment ceases on or before 12 February 2024. The increase from the previous penalty of £20,000 represents a significant financial risk for employers and highlights the importance of conducting thorough right to work checks.

EU Settlement Scheme

Previously, the guidance stated that if an employer found that an EEA national or non-EEA national family member employed on or before 30 June 2021 did not hold lawful immigration status, they could signpost them to make an application under the EU settlement scheme within 28 days. The guidance now states that employers should “take appropriate action”, such as terminating their contract of employment and notifying the Home Office.

Reporting Illegal Working

The guidance now states that, if an employer finds out that they have employed an illegal worker, then they should terminate their employment and notify the Home Office. If employers take these steps, they will have met one of the mitigating factors for calculating the level of civil penalty, which could help save the employer money.

Employers should ensure they carry out follow-up checks and act quickly if they find breaches in order to best protect themselves.

Supplementary Employment

Where an employer is employing a worker for supplementary employment (i.e. where they are sponsored by another employer as their “main role”), they should obtain additional evidence to ensure that the worker is not undertaking more than 20 hours of supplementary employment per week.

The guidance is a useful tool that employers should become familiar with in order to ensure they are properly conducting right to work checks and are protecting themselves from the consequences of employing an illegal worker.

The Employment team at EMW are also on hand if you have any questions about the guidance, or about right to work checks in general.


This article was written with the assistance of Jasper Blacklock.
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