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PRESS INFORMATION - press enquiries to Sam Dabbs on 07711 672893

DWF556/07
21 May 2007

As the EU plans a crackdown on firms hiring illegal immigrants, law firm DWF is warning employers to ensure that new recruits have the right to work in the UK.

The proposal, which must be agreed by a majority of the 27 EU countries, may impose tougher penalties on employers who take on black market workers. Ansar Ali of DWF says: “As well as the risk of a fine or even a jail sentence, employers may be liable for any unpaid taxes and social security payments, as well as the cost of repatriating the worker. Firms could also be barred from tendering for public sector contracts.

“Employers would have to check that anyone they hired had a residence permit, and businesses would have to notify national authorities. The EU is also seeking a five-fold increase in the number of spot checks on companies.”

The EU proposal follows an announcement by the UK government two days earlier that all jobseekers will soon be required to produce a birth certificate or passport to make it even more difficult for illegal immigrants to secure employment in the UK.

It is estimated that there are 3 to 8 million illegal immigrants in the EU, a figure increasing by up to 500,000 every year because of easy access to illegal work

Currently, employers hiring staff who do not have permission to work in the UK face fines of up to £5,000 per worker. However the law has already been tightened up and changes to be introduced soon include 'on the spot fines' of up to £2,000 per worker and a new criminal offence for employers or others in positions of responsibility who knowingly take on an illegal immigrants. If found guilty, they could face imprisonment.

A sponsorship system is due to be implemented by April 2008 and employers who hire black market workers may be suspended from the sponsorship register.

Ali adds: “It is crucial that employers carry out appropriate checks as part of the recruitment process. They must ensure that people they are hiring have the right to work in the UK currently, and in the future when any further changes are introduced.

“To avoid any potential claims of discrimination, all prospective employees should be asked for the relevant documents. Given the raft of changes in this area of the law, employers should be mindful of their obligations since the penalties for non-compliance could be severe.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors:

DWF is one of the fastest growing regional law firms in the UK and has recently merged with Ricksons. With over 820 people based in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Preston, DWF provides a range of services grouped under the following practice areas:

Corporate

Banking & Finance

Business Recovery

Litigation

Real Estate

People

Insurance

Private Client

DWF has developed extensive sector-specific expertise in a number of areas including: automotive, education, food and resourcing. Further information on DWF is available via:

www.dwf.co.uk

Media enquiries to:

Sam Dabbs
Dabbs PR & Marketing
T: 01939 210503 or 07711 672893
E: sam@dabbsprm.com

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