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Civil Penalties

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The immigration team at David Gray is fully operational and working from home to help and advise you on all areas of immigration law by telephone, email or videoconference. Please contact us by email or call Molly on 0191 232 9547.

Civil penalties can be a serious threat to your business if you employ workers who are subject to immigration control.

What is a civil penalty under the Immigration Act?

A civil penalty under the Immigration Act is a penalty that is given to an employer who knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that one of their employees did not have the right to work in the UK. Employers can also be penalised if they employ someone without doing the correct checks, or if they weren’t done properly.

An employee may not have the right to work in the UK for the following reasons:

  • They did not have leave (permission) to enter or remain in the UK
  • Their legal documents were incorrect or false
  • Their leave had expired
  • They were not permitted to do certain types of work

Employers must know what right-to-work checks they need to undertake.  This ensures that they employ workers who have the right to work in the UK and have retained sufficient documents to be able to establish a statutory excuse to avoid a civil penalty.

The Home Office can impose an illegal working fine (or civil penalty) of up to £20,000 per worker for any employee it believes does not have the right to work in the UK.

Criminal sanctions of a civil penalty

Employers can face a prison sentence of five years if they are believed to have knowingly employed illegal workers.

Contact our immigration solicitors

Our immigration solicitors can advise on how to protect your business from civil penalties. We can also advise on challenging any civil penalty imposed by the Home Office.

We have a high success rate in achieving both the cancelling of civil penalty notices and reductions in civil penalties imposed on our clients.

You can talk to Molly Beattie by telephone on 0191 232 9547 (ext. 1306) or contact her by email to molly.beattie@davidgray.co.uk. Alternatively, you can book an appointment and visit us at one of our North East offices:


56 Westgate Road, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5XU

South Shields:

142 Fowler Street, South Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE33 1PZ

The team specialising in this area of work

  • Partner
  • Solicitor