A TOP law firm is advising businesses to "think twice" before employing illegal workers ahead of a new fine which could cost thousands being introduced next year.

Ellisons Solicitors, which has offices in Tendring and Colchester, is pleading for companies across the city and Tendring to make sure their employee 'right to work' documents are in order before a new Government legislation comes into force.

Any business which is found employing an illegal worker will face fines of up to £45,000 per person.

Once enacted in the New Year, the fine will increase by 300 per cent from its original figure of £15,000.

Gazette: Office - Ellisons Solicitors in Headgate Court, ColchesterOffice - Ellisons Solicitors in Headgate Court, Colchester (Image: Ellisons Solicitors)

Any repeat offenders will see the fine triple from £20,000 to £60,000.

Sohan Sidhu, Ellisons Solicitors’ partner and head of immigration, said: “The Home Office position is that by introducing such significant measures, employers will think twice before engaging in illegal practices and deter people from living in the UK unlawfully.

“While up until now businesses may have been able to weather the storm of a £15,000 fine, the new £45,000 fine means that for many businesses this could spell the end of their enterprise.

“Employers need to be extremely vigilant, especially as civil penalties are not the only consequence for an employer found to be employing illegal workers. 

Gazette: Partner - Sohan SidhuPartner - Sohan Sidhu (Image: Sohan Sidhu/Paul Cudmore)

“If the employer holds a Home Office Sponsor Licence, the Home Office has the power to revoke or suspend the Licence. 

“It is also a criminal offence if an employer knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, they are employing an illegal worker. A conviction can lead to imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine."

According to the UK Government’s illegal working civil penalties regional report, between January and March this year there were 86 penalties for illegal workers in the midlands and eastern England, resulting in fines totalling £1.8 million.

However, the law firm, which has offices in Colchester, Tendring, Bury St Edmunds, Chelmsford, and Ipswich, has confirmed there are ways to minimise the risk of being fined.

Sohan added: “All employers are required to conduct right to work checks before employment commences, including carrying out follow-up checks against those individuals who have time limited permission to work in the UK.”

To find out more about law firm, head to ellisonssolicitors.com.