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The new illegal working offence created by section 34 of the Immigration Act 2016 (IA 2016) came into force on 12 July 2016 and with Brexit looming, will become increasingly applicable.

Under the new law a person will commit the offence of illegal working if he works in the UK at a time when he is not entitled to work in the UK because of his immigration status and either knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, that he is not entitled to work in the UK because of his immigration status.

The offence is not limited to working under a contract of employment and extends to all types of work, including self-employment and apprenticeships.

Notably, the new offence allows the government to seize the offending persons wages received from illegal working on the grounds that they are proceeds of crime under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

How will this affect employers?

Further, section 35 IA 2016 adds an additional responsibility to employers. The existing criminal offence of knowingly employing an illegal migrant has been extended to include the situation where an employer has a reasonable cause to believe that a person is an illegal worker.

The government has published guidance to take into account the new offence, help employers prevent illegal working and understand the penalties. This also includes a guide on how to carry out right to work checks and a factsheet on illegal working.

Expert legal employment advice

If you need advice on any of the above, call Bray & Bray. We have three main offices across Leicestershire, feel free to phone or pop in to talk to our solicitors.

Leicester 0116 254 8871

Hinckley 01455 639 900

Market Harborough 01858 467 181