Legal Article - Employment Law

Migrant Workers and the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006

Civil Penalty and the Defence
An employer is liable to a civil penalty (of up to £10000) if a person, 16 or over, is employed who are legally not permitted to work in the UK as they are in breach of their conditions to reside in the country. 

The defence, referred to as the excuse, is only relevant if the employer has carried out the required checks and has repeated them every 12months for particular time restricted permissions.

Criminal Offence
It is an offence to knowingly employ a person aged 16 or over without permission

EEA Nationals
An EEA National should be asked for confirmation of nationality and production of a required document as listed by the UK border agency. Nationals of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia may need to be registered or authorised to work.

Race Discrimination
Due to the population in the UK being ethnically diverse, it should not be assumed that someone from an ethnic minority is an immigrant, or someone from abroad is not entitled to work within the UK.

Essentially the main way to ensure discrimination does not take place is to treat all applicants in the same way. It is courteous in seeking particular documents and can prevent a hefty penalty.
The requirements for Immigration control can vary from time to time. The UK Border Agency outlines the documents required for non-UK nationals to be able to undertake employment within this country. The list of necessary documents includes;

• A valid passport or national identity card
• A residence permit
• A permanent residence card
• A form of a travel document which shows the holder to be exempt from immigration control
• An Immigration status document
• A birth or adoption certificate
• A letter issued by the Home Office

For more information on the documents required to employ a non-UK national please visit the Home Office UK Border Agency  website. 

The UK Border Agency also provides a list of documents which can provide a defence for those employing people who are not of UK origin which can last for up to 12 months and are also known as “providing an excuse”. These documents include;

• A valid passport or travel document
• Biometric Immigration document
• Work permit
• Certificate of application issued by the Home Office
• Residence card or application registration card
• Immigration status document

For further guidance on these documents, please see the Home Office UK Border Agency Prevention of Illegal Working document.

Published: 24 Mar 2011

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