UK News

Illegal working - naming and shaming

February 2012

The UK Border Agency ("UKBA") has announced that it will publish quarterly reports which will name employers who receive 2 or more penalties for employing illegal workers.

Preventing illegal working

Employers in the UK have a duty to ensure that they do not employ illegal workers. Where they are found to have breached this duty they are liable to a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker and may also be subject to criminal sanctions.

Quarterly reports

The UKBA has announced that they will publish quarterly reports. These reports will include details, including the employer’s name and the value of the penalty imposed, of employers who:

  • receive 2 or more penalties for employing illegal workers within a 3 year period.
  • have unpaid penalties or are not making regular payments to outstanding penalties incurred for employing illegal workers.

The UKBA is able to release information from the quarterly reports to local newspapers and broadcast news media. In publishing the names of offenders in this way it is likely that these employers will suffer damage to their reputations and the threat of publication is designed to encourage employers to comply with their obligations to prevent illegal working.


Employers should make sure that they have systems in place to ensure that all the required checks on employees are carried out. This will provide employers with a defence against both civil and criminal liabilities. Please let us know if we may assist in reviewing your existing procedures.

For further information or to discuss the issues raised, please contact David Widdowson or Stephen Wright on +44 20 3051 5711.