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Business Immigration Solicitors

My company received a Home Office Civil Penalty - what can I do? (7 March 2019)

Date: 07/03/2019
Duncan Lewis, Business Immigration Solicitors, My company received a Home Office Civil Penalty - what can I do?

Recent statistics indicate that the Home Office is owed most of the fines it has issued to employers under the ‘Civil Penalty Scheme’, a mechanism which allows the imposition of penalties on employers to ensure that they are compliant, particularly by conducting the ‘Right to work checks’ in line with the Immigration Rules.

According to a freedom of information request obtained by the legal blog, Free Movement, more than £170m in civil penalties had been served upon employers since 2012; however the Home Office have only recovered approximately £55m.

Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, publicly expressed concern over the extent of unallocated fines stating that they were ‘unacceptably high’. The Home Office has amplified its enforcement visits of companies’ premises in the United Kingdom where there is intelligence to indicate non-compliance with the right to work checks or suspicion of illegal working.

Lawyers within the business immigration department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors are routinely instructed to assist companies to take pre-emptive steps to ensure their companies are fully compliant with the ever-evolving rules surrounding the employment of foreign nationals. The ‘Illegal working penalties: code of practice for employers, 2019’ comprises of key changes which, if not adhered to, can lead a civil penalty to be imposed.

We advise our clients to take proactive steps to ensure their workforce protect their companies (from SME’s to large conglomerates) from falling foul of the right to work checks.

We advise our clients and any prospective clients consider the following to protect their company from civil penalties:

An Initial Consultation

Whether you come to us after you have received a civil penalty or if you are seeking advice on continued compliance to avoid future penalties, we offer a fixed-fee consultation with a member of our business immigration team where we will look at the ways that we can assist you and your company.

  • During our consultation we will: assess the size of your organisation; the theoretical strengths and weaknesses of your HR function[s]; take instructions on your compliance procedure when inducting employees, and your compliance procedure to ensure employee due diligence with your existing workforce.

  • We will provide a bespoke letter of advice containing detailed analysis and consideration of pertinent paperwork including what further steps can be taken to protect your organisation.

Retainer to challenge a Civil Penalty Notice (CPN)

The Home Office will impose a Civil Penalty Notice (CPN) if they find evidence to support that your company may be failing in its duty to follow the code of practice for employers in conducting right to work checks and preventing illegal working practices. If you have received a CPN, our business immigration will be able to help you challenge the notice.

  • In the event your company requires urgent assistance following the imposition of a CPN, we are capable of acting on an expedited basis to submit a formal objection, with an objective to overturn or mitigate the CPN.

  • If you receive an unsatisfactory response at the formal objection stage we will assess the merits and consider pursuing an appeal at the relevant court.

  • Whilst the notion of going to court may seem daunting, often matters are disposed of before they even reach the court stage – this is usually achieved via a Pre-Action Protocol Letter surmising why your company should not have been issued a notice in the first place (usually with supplementary documentary evidence).

It is advisable you contact us at the earliest opportunity to give you the best opportunity to remediate your position.

Author, Jayesh Jethwa, is a solicitor in the business immigration department at Duncan Lewis Solicitors and has assisted several companies, including organisations with £1bn+ turnover, protecting their reputation and financial position. If you require assistance or advice with a Home Office civil penalty or any other business immigration matter, contact Jayesh on 020 7275 2752 or at jayeshj@duncanlewis.com.

Ayan Yalchin heads the Duncan Lewis Solicitors business immigration team alongside Vicash Ramikissoon and Tamana Aziz. Ayan continues to be recommended by Legal 500 2019 for his immigration work in London. Ayan specialises in Tier 1, Tier 2, and sponsorship licences for companies including renewals and advising on processes and compliance, Tier 4 (students) and Tier 5 (temporary workers), as well as EEA and ECAA applications.

Contact Ayan on 020 7275 2011 or ayany@duncanlewis.com.

Duncan Lewis Business Immigration Solicitors

Our Immigration department is ranked as a top-tier practice in Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay matters in The Legal 500 2019.

Our Business Immigration team continue to be ranked by Legal 500 with the 2019 edition praising their practice, representing ‘SME clients on a range of matters such as the PBS, sponsorship licence applications, and compliance [and acting] for high-net-worth individuals from Asia, Russia and the Middle East on Tier 1 and investor visas.

As leading immigration specialists we advise on business immigration, right to work in the UK, Tier 2 visa applications, student/graduate visas, spousal visas and visa overstays. We are also able to advise businesses and individuals on any changes to UK immigration law during Brexit negotiations and after 29 March 2019, post-Brexit.

For expert legal advice call Duncan Lewis immigration solicitors on 033 3772 0409.

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