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Fivefold jump in prosecutions for hiring illegal immigrants

Fivefold jump in prosecutions for hiring illegal immigrants

 New rules mean 10,000 fine per illegal worker

 Businesses and recruiters should undertake more rigorous background checks

Businesses and recruitment agencies need to undertake more rigorous checks into candidates backgrounds as the number of prosecutions for hiring illegal immigrants jumped 513% in 2008, warns giant precision, the outsourced solutions provider to the recruitment industry (

According to data obtained from the Home Office by giant precision, the introduction in February 2008 of a new penalty system led to a record 233 prosecutions of employers for employing illegal immigrants. Prior to the enactment of the new legislation, no more than 40 cases were brought against employers in any given year.

According to giant precision, the new system, which introduced a civil penalty of 10,000 for each illegal worker, means recruiters and employers should ensure that their background checking systems are up-to-date with the new legislation.

Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant precision says: The new civil penalty for employers who hire illegal immigrants has made a big difference to the UK Border Agencys activity in bringing cases against employers. More employers than ever before are finding themselves hit with big fines. In cases where an illegal immigrant is supplied by a staffing agency, the agency itself can be liable.

Agencies and employers are required to carry out background checks by law, but the administrative burden has often meant that checks are sporadic and not always thorough.

Matthew Brown explains that employers often do not realise that they have hired illegal immigrants because they are given fraudulent paperwork such as P45s, P60s and passports.

Matthew Brown comments: The new regulations are tough on employers and recruiters who may have checked into candidates backgrounds and been duped by fraudulent documents. Even if checks are carried out, the UK Border Agency can still levy fines if it deems recruiters and employers have not been sufficiently rigorous.

According to giant precision, online identity checking systems which use document capture technology and automatically check that documents like passports are legitimate by linking directly to official databases can save businesses thousands in administrative costs and fines.

Matthew Brown says: The new civil penalty introduced last year for hiring illegal immigrants has led to new compliance requirements that many recruiters and employers are not set up to handle. Paper based systems where recruiters or employers photocopy and check documents manually are laborious and prone to error.

Recruiters and employers can no longer afford to conduct background checking in a haphazard way. Robust online systems that are thorough can save huge amounts of back office time and potentially thousands in fines.


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