Illegal workers: Employers warned as quarterly figures released

UK Visas & Immigration (“UKVI”) has published its quarterly report showing the number of civil penalties for illegal workers found in each region of the UK between 1 October and 31 December 2016 (“the specified period”).


During the specified period, the London & South East region was found to have the highest number and greatest value of penalties and the highest number of illegal workers. These figures are higher than the last quarterly report which suggests that UKVI is continuing to take a tough stance on illegal working with its emphasis on making the UK a hostile environment to those who are disqualified from working.

Please see the table below for the relevant figures.


London & South East

% of all regions in the UK

Number of penalties



Number of illegal workers found



Value of penalties issued (£)
(gross value of penalties issued)














To access UKVI’s quarterly report, please click here.

Figures published by UKVI show that the value of penalties issued during the specified period in the London & South East region ranged from £10,000 up to £60,000 (the latter penalty being imposed on businesses operating in the food sector).

In this current climate, it is even more important for employers to ensure that they are conducting right to work checks correctly and have the correct documentation on file for its workforce. The Immigration team at Bates Wells Braithwaite have seen a flurry of instructions from employers who have either received visits from The Immigration Enforcement Compliance Team as a result of ‘tip offs’ or have been issued with Information Requests from UKVI as it has encountered suspected illegal workers as a result of inter government department intelligence led reports. Our team has considerable experience in conducting immigration audits, advising on illegal working and acting for businesses when it’s Sponsor Licence has been suspended or revoked.

If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this article, please contact Chetal Patel, a Senior Associate in the Immigration Department.  

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of June 15, 2017.