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‘Right to work’ checks still proving tricky

UK employers are finding themselves on the receiving end of penalties and fines for failing to comply with the recently introduced legislation which requires them to complete ‘right to work’ checks on potential employees. Umbrella companies and recruitment agencies are amongst the most likely to have failed to complete the check properly, contributing to the […]

By Alex Graham on 06 Aug 2015
Read time: 2 minutes

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UK employers are finding themselves on the receiving end of penalties and fines for failing to comply with the recently introduced legislation which requires them to complete ‘right to work’ checks on potential employees. Umbrella companies and recruitment agencies are amongst the most likely to have failed to complete the check properly, contributing to the nearly £30 million worth of fines that have been issued to date.

Recently reported figures suggest that the strengthening of the regulations which took place in 2014 and introduced the requirement for workers to have their identity verified face-to-face have failed to improve the overall compliance of recruiters significantly. This is despite the Home Office increasing the maximum fine for failing to comply from £10,000 to £20,000.

The doubling of the potential penalty clearly was not enough of an incentive to encourage the 1,974 recipients of Notices of Liability which were issued over the last year. These notices have carried with them civil penalties totalling £29.6 million, and the figures are only slightly lower than the 2,148 NOLs which were issued in the period between 2013 and 2014.

This decrease, however marginal it may seem, could be seen as an indicator that the increase in fines has had an effect on the way recruiters do business. However, the small figures involved and the fact that the total for the last year is actually an increase of 704 on the number of NOLs that were issued in 2012 has led experts to speculate that the tightening up of the measures has had little effect on the businesses that the Home Office hoped to target.

The increase of 704 since 2012 suggests that the measures introduced to improve the levels of compliance have been ineffective, and that the doubling of the fines has not proved enough of a deterrent to the companies targeted. Although most experts are keen for the government to tackle the problem of firms employing illegal workers, there is a widespread feeling that the current measures do not go far enough to eradicate the practice.

Although the changes introduced by the Home Office show a willingness to tackle the issue, and the process of targeting the companies that are providing employment to people who are not entitled to work in the UK is welcomed, more needs to be done to stamp out the problem once and for all.

If you are considering working for yourself and want to know more about the legislation that you will need to comply with, then using a specialist contractor accountant will help you to get your independent career off to a successful start. For details of how our friendly and experienced team could help you save time and money, call us today on 01253 362062 or email us at contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com.

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