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Right to Work: Illegal working fines set to increase

The government have announced an increase to civil penalties for businesses failing to comply with Right to Work obligations. The changes were announced today, via external news outlets and Home Office social media channels.

The changes are expected to come into force in early 2024.


Right to Work


We’ve broken down what the increases currently look like below:


  • An increased fine from up to £20,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker for a businesses first breach of the rules;
  • With fines of up to £60,000 per illegal worker for repeat breaches (i.e. on separate occasions).


In 2019, the Immigration Inspector reviewed the Right to Work check process and recommended that fines be lowered. In that same year, around half of fines were going uncollected because of poor processes as well as small businesses folding once hit with the fine. We await an official ministerial announcement for further details on the fines, and on how the government intends to ensure enforcement in practice.




At the moment, enforcement usually comes by way of raids (usually only on smaller businesses) or through audits (for larger organisations), when the Home Office have reason to suspect illegal working. We therefore suggest ensuring Right to Work checks are conducted diligently and in line with Home Office guidance, either before work begins, or at the latest on the morning of a new employee’s first day at work.


You can read more about conducting right to work checks here, or you can get in touch with you representative or email us at [email protected] if you have any concerns or questions about how you are conducting checks.


Right to Rent


Individuals on temporary leave to remain permissions, such as Skilled Worker visa holders, should also be aware that landlords are also subjected to increased fines for not conducting compliant Right to Rent checks on their tenants. Maximum fines on landlords are expected to increase from £80 to £5,000 per illegally renting lodger and £1,000 to £10,000 for illegally renting occupiers.


A further update will be received as and when the increase in fines are introduced. The best protection against incurring fines as a landlord or employer is to ensure that the appropriate checks are conducted on the relevant workers and tenants and maintaining your processes appropriately. For training on right to work processes or a discussion on any individual case, please do contact your Magrath Sheldrick LLP representatives for more information.



Article by Josie Laidman

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