BASIC GUIDANCE ON CHALLENGING HOME OFFICE CIVIL PENALTY NOTICE

Penalty Notice, two words but so much damage. Businesses suffer from lower reputation, fines are expensive, and the competitors are thriving. Failure to conduct the lawful immigration checks leads to the issue of the penalty notice. There are many real-life examples regarding this matter and even more regarding other cases.

So, What is a Civil Penalty Notice?

It is a Document issued by  the Home Office, informing the organisation that they employed a person who has no legal right to work in the UK. The Civil Penalty regime was created to ensure employers comply with the UK’s immigration laws and regulations. It is set to punish both, the illegal employees and the organisation that hired them. Many employers received civil penalty notices by unknowingly hiring illegal immigrants, meaning that they have failed to complete the correct Right To Work checks. If that occurs, fines can go up to 20,000£ per worker. This is a big fine that can even end some organisations. Employers who in fact knew that they were hiring an illegal immigrant face up to 5 yeas of imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Grounds for challenging a Civil Penalty Notice

Each organisation has 28 days to respond to the penalty. It starts with an employer making a formal objection to the Home Office. If an employer has grounds for a challenge and evidence to support their case , the fine may be reduced or withdrawn at this stage. If this fails, an appeal can be made to the court.

The ‘Statutory Excuse’

An employer who can prove they carried out correct Right To Work checks on an employee named in the Civil Penalty Notice has a ‘Statutory Excuse’ and does not have to pay the fine.

That is why it is so important to complete the Right To Work checks and have a robust compliance system in place. If the employer has completed the checks and has evidence proving so , they may not be required to pay the penalty. Even further, the Immigration Enforcement will not publish businesses name, reducing the reputation damage.

Employers have to understand that Immigration Law is what everyone has to follow. Employers must ensure that Right To Work checks are complied with and the evidence is retained. Objecting to the notice and processes following that are worse then just simply following the Home Office requirements.