£7.3 Million in Fines for Illegal Workers – Recruitment Market now on Home Office Radar

18th December, 2017

With Brexit now appearing to be gathering pace and seemingly going to happen, The Right to Work in the UK has taken on more prominence then ever and during my meeting with a member of the Home Office Enforcement Team 10 days ago it now seems the Recruitment Market has come up on their radar.

From April to June 2017 this year the Home Office issued just shy of £7.3 million in fines for illegal workers currently working in the UK. It is estimated that when Brexit does finally happen that fraudulent documents will increase by up to 700% in the first 12 months alone as people try and continue to work in the UK.

With the above information being the case it is obvious that the Home Office will have target industries to go after, I was not surprised to hear that the Recruitment Industry would fall in to this bracket. Specifically Construction, Healthcare and Technology. Again with such large multinational work forces, no surprise there.

Right to Work Checks

What I did however find alarming is that it is estimated that 86% of Recruitment Agencies are NOT actually carrying out the Right to Work in The UK checks in the correct way as stipulated by the Home Office. My question was then, do Recruiters actually understand the exact way the Home Office want these right to work checks carried out?

With the above in mind I spent last week seeing my 3 largest clients, one from Construction, Healthcare and Technology to see for myself, if indeed the 86% mentioned to me could be accurate. Every single one of my clients was NOT carrying out the correct checks as spelt out by the Home Office. In fact they perceived that the way they were identifying their contractors was correct.

They couldn’t have been more wrong. Of course we have now helped to ensure that their business is, going forward doing things in the right way, but it still shocked me that businesses still don’t fully understand The Right to Work in the UK even though this has been in place since 2014.

Last but not least, I have been speaking to lots of new agencies and clients who say that their payroll company ensures that their Right to Work is carried out by them as they are employed by the said Payroll Company. This is incorrect and wrong advice, both the Recruitment Agency or Client MUST STILL carry out THEIR OWN Right to Work in the UK checks in the same way that we do as a Payroll Company.

Direct links to Home Office

In our case at Orca we have direct links into the Home Office and our Technology allows us to clarify whether an individual has the Right to Work in the UK within 60 seconds, this however does not protect any of our clients from not needing to do their own checks.

With fines of £20,000 per individual who does not have the Right to Work in the UK or up to 5 years imprisonment, now is the time to actually revisit whether you are doing this correctly. Happy to also speak to and help anyone looking for guidance regarding this and how our Technology can assist you in this and your payroll needs. Call me on 07538 645 141 to discuss. Robert