You can be fined up to £20,000 per person for employing illegal workers.

Illegal workers include:

  • students with expired visas, or students working more hours than they’re allowed to
  • people who work on a visitor’s visa

If you’re caught employing an illegal worker

You’ll get a ‘referral notice’ to let you know that:

  • your case is being considered
  • you may get a fine (also known as a civil penalty) of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker

You won’t have to pay a fine if you can show a valid reason for employing an illegal worker.

You’ll be sent a ‘civil penalty notice’ if you’re found liable and you’ll have 28 days to respond.

The penalty notice will give you your payment options and tell you what do next. It will also tell you how to appeal if you want to.

Your business’s details may be published by Immigration Enforcement as a warning to other businesses not to employ illegal workers.

You can be sent to jail for up to 2 years and receive an unlimited fine if you’re found to have ‘knowingly employed’ an illegal worker.

Get help and advice

Call UKVI’s employers’ helpline for help with making sure your employees are entitled to work in the UK.

Employers helpline
0300 123 4699
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