Forthcoming new laws to curb illegal working and protect the exploitation of migrant workers

September 24th 2015

selling a business

With the migrant crisis being headline daily news, it should be noted that the government has published the Immigration Bill 2015-2016. This intended legislation contains proposals to curb illegal working and protect the exploitation of migrant workers, as outlined in the Queen’s speech which was delivered on 27 May 2015.

In particular, the Bill:

  • proposes extending the existing criminal offence of knowingly employing an illegal migrant to apply where an employer has “reasonable cause to believe” that a person is an illegal worker. Conviction on indictment for this offence would increase from two to five years.
  • creates a new offence of illegal working which will enable the earnings of illegal workers to be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
  • will give the Secretary of State the power to introduce an “immigration skills charge” on certain employers who sponsor skilled workers from outside of the European Economic Area. This is in order to address the current skills gap in the UK workforce.
  • requires public authorities to ensure that public sector workers in customer-facing roles speak fluent English.

Guidance will be provided in a code of practice which the government will be consulting on in parallel with the passage of the Bill through Parliament.

For more information on this or any other Employment law matter, please contact Philomena Price, Employment Partner at Spratt Endicott Solicitors on 01295 204147, or email

*Disclaimer: While everything has been done to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this article, it is a general guide only. It is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.*