A new criminal offence of having “reasonable cause to believe” that an employee does not have the correct immigration status came into force today.
The new offence – under s.34 Immigration Act 2016 – is in addition to the exiting offence of “knowingly employing” someone who does not have permission to work.
The potential penalty for the offence has risen from 2 to 5 years’ imprisonment.
Other new provisions in the Act include increased powers for immigration officers, a new power to seize the earnings of illegal workers, and a new compliance sanctions for businesses.
Another requirement of the Act, that public sector workers in customer-facing roles should have fluent English, has not yet been brought into force, and currently we do not know when this will happen.