As the political pressure to stop illegal working continues in the UK, more civil penalties are being issued to employers. This is directly related to UKVI’s commitment to increasing audit/ inspection visits to companies to identify and sentence employers with illegal workers. (Illegal workers are those from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who are working in the UK without formal permission to do so.)

Long-term Damages By UKVI Civil Penalties

Civil penalties can be devastating to a business. In addition to the negative record associated with being levied a civil penalty, companies face fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker, as well as criminal prosecution, a prison sentence, and losing the right to employ migrant workers.

The damage to a business’ reputation due to non-compliance and civil penalties can filter through to impact on professional connections, loss of transactions and contracts, and the inability to hire skilled foreign workers. In today’s competitive market, these implications can be the nail on the coffin of a struggling business.

The full impact of civil penalties is devastating. But being issued a civil penalty does not have to destroy your business.

Appealing A Civil Penalty For Illegal Workers

You have the option to appeal a civil penalty notice. If the civil penalty is for illegal working, there is a 28-day window when you can choose to appeal or pay the fine levied. Due to the short time frame, you must act quickly and carefully.

Do be aware that an appeal can possibly lead to increased penalties if new, damaging information is uncovered. Therefore, it is vital that you ensure your appeal confidently supports your position.

The first step in the appeal is to lodge a written objection. Should this fail, you may then request a hearing to state your position and appeal the penalty. As expert immigration lawyers, YDVISAS can help you establish a defence plan that appropriately supports your position. Through our detailed understanding of immigration laws, history of successful appeals and your individual situation, we can create a tailored approach to your appeal.

Phase 1 Of Your Civil Penalty Appeal

Post a written protest where you state your disagreement with the penalty within 28 days of the penalty being issued. There are three approaches to choose from:

  • If you are not the employer of the workers in question, then state that the penalty is outside of your liability. There may be other situations where you are not liable.
  • If you took all reasonable actions to check for illegal workers, and did not suspect illegal workers, you qualify for a statutory excuse. You would state this statutory excuse in your defence.
  • If you have been reasonable and cooperative through all audits and reviews, and have policies and procedures in place for achieving compliance, you may claim that the penalty is at an unreasonable level and request an adjustment.

Phase 2 Of Your Civil Penalty Appeal

Your initial written appeal may be denied. Should this occur, you still have the option of registering a protest at the County Court in order to receive a hearing. Again, you are only able to do so within 28 days of receiving the denial of your appeal.

It is very important that you take all possible actions to prepare for the hearing, by involving an immigration expert as part of your appeal team. Our knowledge and experience will be priceless as you establish your appeal.

The hearing enables you to present any relevant documents that may support your appeal.
Excellent preparation can lead to a settlement initiated by UKVI prior to the hearing. Our research indicates that this is most likely when you have strong supporting evidence of your appeal position.

What’s Next? Speak To An Expert

For expert advice and professional immigration assistance to do with a Home Office Civil Penalty, please contact our immigration team on 020 7404 7933 or email us at You can also use the form to make an enquiry.