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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Entitlement to National Minimum Wage: Illegal working and those working in breach of stay conditions

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, section 8


An illegal worker is someone who is either:

  • A migrant who arrives and stays in the UK illegally, or
  • Someone who is here lawfully but is working in breach of their conditions of stay.

It is a criminal offence under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 to employ a person aged 16 or over who is subject to immigration control unless:

  • they have been given valid and subsisting leave to be in the United Kingdom (UK) by the Government, and that leave does not restrict them from taking the job in question, or
  • they fall into specific categories where employment is also allowed

The Act also requires employers in the UK to undertake basic document checks on everyone they intend to employ. By doing this, employers can ensure they are complying with the law and can legally defend their position if it later transpires that they are employing someone illegally.

The main groups who are not subject to immigration control in the UK and who can be employed without restriction are:

  • British Citizens
  • Commonwealth citizens with the right of abode
  • Family members of nationals from European Economic Area countries and Switzerland, providing the European Economic Area national is lawfully residing in the UK.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM05210(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)