Illegal workers—civil and criminal sanctions
Illegal workers—civil and criminal sanctions

The following Employment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Illegal workers—civil and criminal sanctions
  • Civil penalty
  • Criminal offences
  • Statutory and other guidance
  • Employment commencing before 29 February 2008
  • European Sanctions Directive

A system of civil and criminal penalties for employers who hire illegal workers exists for employment commencing from 29 February 2008 under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (IANA 2006).

A person is an illegal worker if he is a person aged 16 or over who requires leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Act 1971, and:

  1. he has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, or

  2. his leave to enter or remain is not valid or has ceased to have effect for any reason, or

  3. his leave to enter or remain is subject to a condition precluding him from taking up employment

For the purposes of illegal working legislation, employment is considered to be any employment relationship that is under a contract of service or apprenticeship, whether expressed or implied and whether oral or written.

Note that EEA nationals and their family members who have a right of residence in the UK under EU law do not fall within the definition of those who are required to have leave to enter or remain under the Immigration Act 1971. However, when a new country accedes to the EU, its nationals may be subject to restrictions on accessing the labour market of EU member states for up to seven years. Prior to 1 July 2018, Croatian nationals were subject