Skip To The Main Content

Warning for small business owners as immigration rules get tougher

Small business owners need to be aware of changes to the Immigration Act, which came into force last year. 

The new law means employers who have “reasonable cause to believe” someone working for them may be in the UK illegally and who fail to report this could be held personally liable, rather than needing to “know” this is the case as under the previous Act. The new law also increased the penalties employers could face, from a maximum prison sentence of two years to five. 

“We’re seeing a shift in the burden of responsibility from the Home Office and Government towards employers, particularly with the reduction in the evidence requirements,” said Martin McTague, FSB Policy Director.

Firms need to ensure they carry out right-to-work checks as a part of their hiring process, including making sure they request and verify the appropriate documentation, and keep on top of the length of time people have been working for them to ensure employees do not overstay a work permit. 

FSB members can access legal advice as a member benefit. For more information, visit fsb.org.uk/benefits