If you are concerned that you have been working illegally or employing illegal workers in the UK, you will need to change this as quickly as possible. This will help avoid severe penalties from the Home Office or even a deportation order against you.

You can be classed as an illegal worker if you do not hold permission to remain in the UK or if your current leave has expired or been invalidated. You will also be recognized as an illegal worker in the UK if you do not have leave that grants you to do your type of work.

How can IAS help?

If you believe you are working illegally or allowing illegal immigration of your employees, legal advice is important. Our lawyers can give timely, confidential advice to protect yourself or your business from any penalties from the Home Office. Our services include Sponsor License assistance and immigration consultancy. We also offer emergency work permit applications to prevent acts of illegal immigration in the UK. Get in touch on +1844 290 6312 today or make an inquiry online to find out your options or for more information.


What is an illegal worker?

As of July 2017, under section 24B of the 1971 Act, an individual pledges the offense of illegal working if he or she is:

  • Subject to immigration control;
  • Working in the UK;
  • Disqualified from working by his or her immigration status; and
  • Has knowledge or reason to believe that they should not be working in the UK because of their immigration status.

What happens to illegal workers in the UK?

It is important to note, as a migrant worker, the penalties that you could face for working in spite of the law.

You could face a six-month prison sentence and an unlimited fine if you are found to be an illegal worker without the correct paperwork. Additionally, any income you make in this time may be seized by the Home Office.

Are there any penalties for employing illegal workers in the UK?

As a business owner, it is important to be aware of the penalties for ignoring the laws outlined by the Home Office. Employers must confirm that all workers have the right to work in the UK and the correct documents to prove this.

Employers could be subject to penalties if:

  • They hire workers who are not eligible to work in the UK; or
  • They have not carried out the correct employment checks before offering the job.

In the event of these things not being carried out, an employer may receive a referral notice from the Home Office. This referral notice will let them know that their business will be investigated. This investigation could result in fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

The employer may then receive a Civil Penalty notice which must be responded to within 28 days. The notice will include details on how to pay fines, the next steps and how to appeal (see next FAQ).

Your business’ details could also be published by Immigration Enforcement as a warning not to employ illegal workers.

Are there any Work Permit options for illegal workers?

We recommend getting help from an immigration expert if you are worried about a UK illegal immigration issue.

Working illegally in the UK can negatively affect any applications you make in the future for all visa types.

By getting in touch with one of our expert immigration advisers, you will be able to discuss the different Work Permit options available to you. This will help you regulate your status and ensure you are not penalized by the Home Office.

What are my options after an illegal workers UK fine?

Employing illegal workers in the UK may result in a fine and a warning called a Civil Penalty.

This can seriously affect a company’s reputation and can even cause a company to close down.

If a company receives a fine from the Home Office because their employees are working illegally, they will have 28 days to respond.

They can either:

  • Object to the penalty;
  • Request that a payment installment plan be set up; or
  • Pay the penalty in full.

This 28-day deadline is very strict and there is no chance of extension.

It is highly advisable to seek the help of an immigration lawyer in the event of a Civil Penalty. We can offer advice on options and help with the appeal process.

What services does IAS offer?

The lawyers at IAS have experience with many cases of helping businesses after receiving a Civil Penalty. We also help those who are concerned they are committing UK illegal immigration offenses.

Our services are confidential and we aim to offer the best quality support and guidance we can.

For UK employers, we will:

  • Help with Sponsor License applications to legally employ workers;
  • Perform an Immigration Audit to check current HR methods;
  • Find the best solution if the business has received a Civil Penalty;
  • Act as legal representation for any appeals;
  • Prepare the company for a visit from UKVI;
  • Maintain contact with the Home Office.

For employees, we will:

  • Assess whether you are working in the UK legally;
  • Assist with an application for a Work Permit;
  • Correspond with the UK sponsor to receive the correct Certificate of Sponsorship;
  • Advise on any Work Visa extensions;
  • Help switch visa categories if necessary;
  • Assist with switching from a Work Visa to ILR or Citizenship.

Get in touch with us to discuss your options if you are worried you may be working illegally in the UK.

Our Packages

Advice Package

Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to you, with written confirmation


Application Package

Full assistance throughout your entire application process


Fast Track Package

A premium service which allows your application to take priority position in your lawyer's workload


Appeal Package

Full representation through your appeal, including physical representation if your case is heard by a tribunal


A few of

our experienced

immigration lawyers

Case studies

We are very proud that we have changed so many of our client’s lives for the better. Here are a few of their stories:

Samy: Tier 4 Student Visa

Samy from the Democratic Republic of Congo was accepted into a UK University. However, he had a wife and two daughters and was unsure about leaving his family behind so… Read More

Terence: Tier 1 Visa

Terence, an Australian investor, found several investment opportunities in the UK. He was unclear about his immigration options and contacted IAS. Working closely with our specialist lawyer, he was able… Read More

Marta: EEA PR

Marta is a Polish national who arrived in the UK to study four years ago and came close to fulfilling the requirements for Permanent Residency. However, she was unaware of… Read More

Ajay: Family Visit Visa Appeal

Ajay’s Mother, a Nepalese national, wanted to visit her son who lived in the UK and applied for a Family Visitor Visa but was refused.
They contacted IAS and… Read More

Moira: Tier 2 and Dependant Extension

Moira was an Australian National who had been working in the UK under a Tier 2 Visa and brought her husband over as a dependant.
Her Work Visa was… Read More

Hector: Tier 2 Work Visa with Dependant

Hector, a Mexican National, was offered employment in the UK. He contacted IAS and spoke with one of our lawyers via Skype. Hector was told that he could not stay… Read More

Latest reviews

My utmost praise and a job well done to Saimah Razzaq for her excellent services. Chronologically, I applied for FLR… Read More
Great service and Nasreen really helped guide us through the process. Our application went through smoothly and was well worth… Read More
We used this service for the spouse visa to assure that all the information was valid and correct. Also ensured… Read More

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