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Firms employing illegal immigrants could face £20,000 fine under proposals

Businesses employing illegal immigrants could face a new £20,000 penalty per illegal worker, under new measures proposed by the government.

The proposals are part of the government's plans to take tougher action against the employers who exploit them. Outlined in a consultation launched in July 2013, they aim to simplify and strengthen the current civil penalty scheme to prevent illegal working. The plans are expected to form part of the Immigration Bill, being introduced later this year.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said employers who offer work to illegal immigrants undercut legitimate businesses by unlawful cost-cutting activity. He also said this kind of employment is often linked to exploitative behaviour like tax evasion and harmful working conditions.

'At the same time, we want to make it easier for legitimate businesses by reducing the administrative costs of complying with right to work checks,' he said.

These proposals include reducing the number of documents an employer needs to check to establish a right to work and simplifying the operation of the right to work checks and the guidance for employers.

The consultation on these proposals will run for six weeks, until 20 August 2013.

Acas runs training sessions on Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010, with advice on appropriate recruitment procedures. Workshops are also available on Employment Law Update, which provides guidance on the latest legislation.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects page for more information.

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