Care operators are being urged to review their Right to Work processes amid new soaring penalties for businesses that breach the rules.
Full-service law firm Thorntons is hosting a free webinar about the changes, which get under way next year. Its employment and immigration experts have advised that care businesses are more likely to be affected by the new rules following a surge in overseas recruitment.
The civil penalty for employers, which was last increased in 2014, will be raised to up to £45,000 per illegal worker for a first breach from £15,000, and up to £60,000 for repeat breaches from £20,000.
Details of the fines will be published on the UK Government’s website, creating reputational issues for affected firms.
In the UK it is up to employers to ensure members of their workforce are legally entitled to work in the country, but there have been numerous changes to the system in recent years.
Since Brexit, only British and Irish citizens have an automatic right to work in the UK. EU nationals who came to the UK on or after 1 January 2021 no longer automatically qualify.
In addition, the right to work varies depending on the type of immigration permission held. Many visa-holders have “restricted work rights”. This means there are limits placed on their right to work, such as the number of hours they can work or the role they can perform.
Among the Thorntons specialists speaking at the event are employment partner Chris Phillips, immigration specialists Louise Crichton and Jacqueline Moore and data protection director Morgan O’Neill.
Guest speaker Chris McGookin from compliance software business Amiqus, which offers right to work checks, will also address the webinar.
Jacqueline Moore said: “With the care sector more dependent than others on overseas workers it is important that operators review their Right to Work procedures. Failing to do so could lead to fines big enough to bankrupt some businesses.
“There have been many changes to how Right to Work checks should be conducted in recent years and businesses using out of date processes are not protected from penalties.
“The care sector is likely to be under additional scrutiny and compliance is crucial. Investing in Right to Work should be as much of a priority as health and safety or data protection.”
According to the UK Government enforcement activity has been stepped up this year with visits at their highest levels since 2019, up 50% on last year.
Thorntons’ Right to Work webinar takes place 9.30-10.30am Wednesday 15 November and is suitable for HR and recruitment professionals, managers and business owners.