Illegal working and immigration controls

Topic Index
Points-based immigration system
The Sponsor Licence
Prevention of illegal working
Biometric Residence Permits



  • Employers are responsible for checking whether their workers are legally entitled to work in the UK.
  • Employers need to have a thorough understanding of the system, robust internal procedures and a system for keeping abreast of on-going changes.
  • To comply with their legal duties, employers may require employees (including British citizens) to provide documentary evidence of their entitlement to work in the UK. 
  • Employers must retain copies of these documents in order to avoid the risk of incurring sanctions: up to a £20,000 fine per illegal worker and for those who ‘knowingly’ employ an illegal worker, up to two years’ imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
  • A points-based immigration system (PBS) operates in the UK, run by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).
  • The Immigration Act 2016 contains various proposals to clamp down on illegal working - see Immigration update - May 2016.
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