• International Workplace
  • 5 December 2017

Countrywide crackdown continues – more companies disqualified for employing illegal workers

The directors of restaurants in Antrim, Glasgow, Bognor Regis and Newport, South Wales are amongst the latest company directors to receive lengthy bans for employing illegal workers.

In all, 20 directors in 16 separate businesses across the United Kingdom have been disqualified recently, following investigations by the Insolvency Service, all of whom were already fined for employing illegal workers. Eighteen people have been banned from being company directors or being involved in the management of companies for six years each, whilst two have been disqualified for seven years.

The businesses, which include 11 restaurants, four takeaway/fast food establishments, and a shop, are based in London (4), Sussex (3), North West (3) South Wales (2), Glasgow, Antrim, Frome and High Wycombe.

Between them, they employed 41 illegal workers and were fined a total of £505,000 by the Home Office, none of which was paid. Two of the companies have now entered into liquidation, with a further two having been dissolved.

The Insolvency Service is continuing to work very closely with Home Office Immigration Enforcement to take action in cases where the company is still active and not subject to insolvency proceedings.

The matters leading to all of the disqualifications are that the directors failed to ensure that the companies complied with statutory obligations under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to ensure that relevant immigration checks were completed and copy documents retained, resulting in the employment of illegal workers.

Following visits from Home Office Immigration, during which the breaches were discovered, the companies were issued with penalty notices ranging from £10,000 to £15,000 per worker, which remain unpaid.

All were directors of the companies at the time of the Home Office visit.

Commenting on the disqualification, Cheryl Lambert, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service, said:

“Employing illegal workers is not consequence free, either for the employer, the employee or the consumer.

“These directors sought an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors by employing people who were not entitled to work legally in the UK. By definition, this is a set of people who are without the protection of the law and knowledge of the authorities, and thereby extremely vulnerable to exploitation in all its forms. It is bad for business and bad for society as a whole.

“If a company is found to be employing illegal workers and not carrying out the checks they are required to by law, then the Insolvency Service will continue to liaise with the Home Office to ensure that not only the workers, but the employers, will be removed from the market place. This is regardless of the whether the company remains trading or is in liquidation.These actions are a warning that the Government is pursuing bad employers.”

A Home Office spokesperson said:

“Illegal working is not victimless. It undercuts honest employers, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities and defrauds the taxpayer. Businesses should be aware that they have a duty to check that their staff have permission to work in the UK. We are happy to work with employers who play by the rules but those who do not, should know that they will not go under our radar.”