• For a first-time breach, penalties will increase from £15,000 to £45,000 per illegal worker.
  • For repeat breaches, the current maximum penalty of £20,000 will triple to £60,000 per illegal worker.

In order to assist employers, the Home Office has published an updated Code of Practice on preventing illegal working which will also come into effect on 13 February 2024.

The Code of Practice sets out the following:

  • Processes on how employers should conduct right-to-work checks.
  • Processes on what information and the length of time it must be retained by the employer.
  • Requirement for employers to conduct follow-up right-to-work checks for workers whose immigration permission is time-limited.
  • Requirement for employers to properly record their right-to-work checks.

A civil penalty can be mitigated if the employer can establish that they have complied with the Code of Practice. This would provide the employer with a defence known as a statutory excuse.


In view of these substantial increases, all employers should ensure they have internal measures and practices in place to comply with the Code of Practice and to carry out right-to-work checks on all employees/workers.

For more information, please contact: