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Fines increase for businesses and landlords who knowingly support illegal migrants

In the latest updates to government guidance, the level of civil penalties for employers or landlords found to have onboarded illegal migrants have tripled.

The new penalty scheme came into force on 13th February 2024. For employers, the civil penalty for employing illegal migrants has risen from £15,000 for the first offence to £45,000. For repeat offenders, fines triple from £20,000 to £60,000.

Landlords who house illegal migrants also face an increase in fines with penalties rising from £1,000 per occupier to £10,000 and repeat breaches going from £3,000 to £20,000.

Landlords found to be hosting a lodger without lawful immigration status for the first time could be fined £5k, increased from the previous maximum fine of £80.

The tougher fines have been introduced following work by the government’s immigration taskforce, which was launched at the start of this year.

The Home Office commented: “It’s only right that the size of the fine matches the severity of the offence – and that’s why we are increasing them by such significant amounts… As we ratchet up fines, we are also stepping up enforcement activity so more rogue businesses are getting knocks on their door.”

In both updates, the way that employers and landlords can make checks remains the same with a choice of manual document checks for any citizen, online identity verification using an IDSP for British or Irish citizens and online checks for non-British and Irish citizens who hold an eVisa.

You can find the latest Right to Work guidance updates here and the latest updates to Right to Rent guidance here.