Agencies have a requirement to check that a worker has the right to work in the UK under both the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003 and UK Border Agency [UKBA] Preventing Illegal Workers.
In the past, agencies have checked a worker's right by simply obtaining a copy of the passport and, where necessary, the visa. The introduction of the Preventing Illegal Working rules by the UKBA changed all this.
Whilst there is no legal requirement to carry out the UKBA prescribed checks, where these checks have not been carried out and an illegal worker is found, businesses will be fined up to £10,000 per worker. Where UKBA believes the business was knowingly employing an illegal worker a criminal prosecution could be brought carrying with it an unlimited fine and a potential jail term.
It is essential that agencies ensure their processes are brought up-to-date to comply with the requirements.
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