An organisation will be issued a civil penalty notice, informing them that they have employed someone who did not the rights to work in the UK; thereby breaching section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006.
This also apply to employers who have failed to comply with their sponsorship duties and obligations. Or businesses who unintentionally hired a person without full rights to work as a result of an unforeseen breakdown in their onboarding process.
If you have received a fine for hiring illegal workers, you are faced with a choice to either accept and pay the fine or challenging the penalty. As an employer who has just received a notice, your next steps are very important. You will normally have just 28 days to either pay the fine or to send back an objection form; in which case you have decided to appeal the decision.
It is important to note that the UKVI encourages companies to accept fines rather than going through the lengthy process of appeal. Not only do they allow for a payment plan to be arranged, businesses are offered 30% discount if they make full payments within 21 days of receiving the notice.
If you however choose to object the civil penalty and appeal, as expected, you will have to provide full evidence, and preferably legal argument as to why you are not liable for any civil penalty.
The choice of whether to accept or appeal is a tricky one. Settling, for some, means that they have accepted that they have done wrong. It may also mean that you are parting away with hard earned money, something most businesses will not enjoying doing. Objecting however, may either get the fine overturned or increased if you lose.
It is therefore important that you seek professional and legal advice from experience business immigration and sponsor licence lawyers before attempting to object and appeal. Your immigration lawyer or solicitor must be able to justify the grounds for appeal as well as justifying the fact that should the Home Office increase your fine as a result of the appeal process, it would be unreasonable and unnecessary.
It may therefore important for employers to consider the strength of objecting and appealing a fine before accepting it.
If the evidence against you is overwhelming and undisputable, it may be best to pay the fine, learn from the mistake(s) and implement control measures. It is also advisable to seek advice from expert business immigration advisers on the best practical control measure to adopt given your particular situation.
Accepting to pay, even though the best option (in some instances) will now put your company under the Home Office watch. You can expect unannounced visits by UKVI compliance officers at any time. It is therefore important that you fix the compliance issues and get your control measures right.
Your defence may be built on but not limited to the following grounds: -
At Reiss Edwards, we have a team of expert business immigration and sponsor licence lawyers with full understanding and practical know-how of the entire sponsor licence process and compliance and audit process. Contact us today for a free assessment on 02037442797 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org.