Do you want to risk 5 years in Prison – illegal working

Illegal Working – ARE SME’s at Risk?

A burger chain (Byron) hit the headlines a couple of months ago when the Home office arrested a number of illegal workers.  The home office undertakes these visits on a regular basis but they rarely make the news and employers just aren’t aware of the possible implications

If illegal working is found in your organisation you could get a penalty of up to £5000 and there is the possibility of a criminal offence with up to 5 years in prison.

Employees of Byron

Employees of Byron

Avoiding illegal working

In your recruitment process, you need to check the employee’s identity and right to work in the UK.  You need to look at the original documents and take a copy to keep on your personnel file for that employee.  If you don’t have this – this will incur the fine.

Check any visa carefully, particularly student visa’s as they can only work for a limited amount of hours.  Diarise any visa end dates so you don’t miss them and ensure that you get any up to date revisions in good time.


Some employees will present fraudulent documents, this won’t be held against the employer, so long as it is not ignored and the employer complies with the Home Office instructions.

illegal workers


What do I do if I find an illegal worker

I am sorry to say that you need to dismiss them as soon as possible.

You will need to ensure that you do that in a legal manner so best to call us for advice.

The worst thing you can do is know about it and ignore it – that is mean the custodial sentence may apply.