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Bans, fines and jail if you employ illegal foreigners

Civils firms face a ban on recruiting foreign workers if they are found to be employing illegal immigrants, under new rules introduced this week.

They could also face a £10,000 fine for each illegally employed worker and have their staff jailed.

The Home Office's five tier Points Based System (PBS) for immigration will gradually replace the old work permit scheme starting this Friday.

It introduces a sponsorship system for employers recruiting labour from overseas.

As well as fines and bans on foreign workers, penalties for breaking the rules also include two year jail terms for staff knowingly involved in breaches.

The rules apply to main contractors whose subcontractors break the new immigration laws.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers legal head of global immigration Julia Onslow-Cole said: "Employers shouldn't be complacent about this.

"In this tougher climate contractors must ensure that everybody involved in the project has some regard to the immigration status of everyone involved in the project.

"Otherwise it could affect their ability to retain a licence to hire overseas employees."

Contractors will have to sign up to the Home Office's Sponsorship Register to be eligible to employ Tier 1 (highly skilled) or Tier 2 (skilled workers with a job offer) migrants.

Once they have registered, they must keep accurate records on each worker including visa expiry dates. They must also make annual checks on each migrant worker's immigration status.

Employers will also be responsible for collecting evidence confirming that their workers' circumstances meet the appropriate tier classification.

"They're almost having to act like immigration officers", said Onslow-Cole.

"There's going to be much more importance attached to putting together the information properly, as there will be no appeal
process. The rules are quite draconian."

"It potentially can have a knock-on effect, even if they're not directly your employees, it could affect your license to sponsor
other people," she added.

TIERS EXPECTED

The first part of the new five-tier points based system will be rolled out on Friday 29 February, with the existing Highly-Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) being replaced by Tier 1 (Highly skilled staff).

The first part of the new five-tier points based system will be rolled out on Friday 29 February, with the existing Highly-Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) being replaced by Tier 1 (Highly skilled staff).


The tiers are as follows:

- Tier 1 Highly skilled workers

- Tier 2 Skilled workers

- Tier 3 Low skilled workers filling temporary labour shortage

- Tier 4 Students

- Tier 5 Youth mobility and temporary workers (people here primarily for non-economic reasons)

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