Clause 9 - Offence of employing illegal worker

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 4:30 pm, 27th October 2015

It is rather that the employer has to show the right-to-work check, which is what the provision relates to. There is certain documentation with which employers should be familiar. We still work on the basis of trying to raise awareness of the issues. We are not trying deliberately to catch out employers. I certainly want employers to know the relatively simple steps they have to take to comply. The obligation was introduced into law in 2006, when the civil penalty scheme was put in place by the Labour Government. That is, therefore, what needs to be shown and it is why the negligence piece sits within the civil penalty regime.

The amendment to the definition of the offence—having reasonable cause to believe—is for those who close their eyes and put their fingers in their ears so that they cannot be liable, trying to get around the existing knowledge requirement of the Act. Those employers are, frankly, trying to play the system, and we are making the changes because of the problems that the pre-existing offence presented for our ability to bring prosecutions. I think that hon. Members would want us to be able to bring prosecutions in such circumstances.