Civil penalties for employing illegal workers – Consequences

There are significant consequences of receiving Civil Penalty for employing illegal worker(s).

If you employ workers illegally, you may face the following penalties:

  • your sponsor licence may be revoked and you will then be subject to a cooling-off period of 12 months before you can reapply for a licence
  • you may be issued with a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker
  • if an action to enforce payment of a civil penalty is taken, this could adversely affect your ability to obtain credit
  • you may be prosecuted for having in your possession or under your control an identity document (or a copy of it) that is false or improperly obtained and you may go to prison for up to 5 years and/or receive an unlimited fine
  • you may be prosecuted for knowingly employing an illegal migrant worker, for which you can go to prison for up to 2 years and/or receive an unlimited fine
  • you may be disqualified from acting as a company director
  • you may be prosecuted for facilitation or trafficking and if convicted, you may go to prison for up to 14 years and/or receive an unlimited fine
  • if you are subject to UK immigration control, and liable for employing illegal workers, this will be recorded on Home Office systems and may be used in the consideration of future immigration applications

If Home Office find that you have employed someone illegally they may tell other bodies such as:

  • the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
  • the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC)
  • the Insolvency Service.
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • another government agency

In addition, Home Office publishes names of employers on whom Home Office have imposed civil penalties (fines), for not complying with illegal working legislation, and who have:

  • not paid them, or are not making regular payments towards them 28 days after they have exhausted all their objection and appeal rights
  • been served with a second or further penalty once they have exhausted all their objection or appeal rights, regardless of whether they have made any payments.

The information contained in this blog reflects legal position on 5th April 2019 and is for general information purposes only and does not aim  to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. We accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Carter Lemon Camerons immigration team. The specialist team at Carter Lemon Camerons Solicitors can assist you with all immigration and business-related matters. Our years of expertise in these areas mean that we can provide tailored solutions for you. For more details, please contact our immigration team at or +44 (0)20 7406 1000.