Civil Penalty Notices

Amicis Legal Services Ltd: Assisting Employers with UK Immigration Civil Penalties
As a sponsor of overseas workers, you must act swiftly if you receive a UK Home Office immigration civil penalty, as fines of up to £20,000 per worker without permission to work could be imposed. However, by responding within the given deadline and providing evidence of the necessary checks, you can avoid such penalties. In this article, we will explain the concept of immigration civil penalties, the associated fines and consequences, factors that can mitigate or reduce fines, and the process of appealing such penalties.
Understanding UK Immigration Civil Penalties
A UK immigration civil penalty is a fine imposed by the Home Office on sponsors of overseas workers who have violated the law regarding the prevention of illegal working in the UK. The process leading to a civil penalty involves three steps:
  • Breach: The Home Office may suspect that you have employees without permission to work in the UK, prompting them to request evidence of your compliance with the law.
  • Referral: If the Home Office remains dissatisfied with your explanation, they will issue a ‘referral notice,’ indicating that they are investigating the matter and assessing the risk of a civil penalty.
  • Decision: Should the Home Office determine that you indeed employed a worker without the necessary permission, they will serve a ‘civil penalty notice.’ This notice confirms your liability, the amount to be paid and when, as well as the process for objecting to the penalty. You will have 28 days to object and provide evidence that you conducted the required checks or that the individual was not working for you.

It is also possible for the Home Office to issue a warning notice or a no-action notice if they find insufficient evidence of employing a worker without permission.

Objecting to the Penalty
When you receive a civil penalty notice, you must respond within 28 days with the necessary explanation and evidence. Our immigration solicitors at Amicis Legal Services Ltd are experienced in handling such matters and can promptly manage the objection and appeal process on your behalf. 
UK Immigration Civil Penalty Fines and Consequences
The amount of the fine you receive from the Home Office depends on various factors, including
  • Past instances of employing workers without immigration permission
  • Your compliance history with right-to-work checks
  • Failing to co-operate with the Home Office
  • How promptly you took action upon discovering that a worker lacked the necessary permission

The Home Office may increase or decrease the penalty based on these circumstances and your compliance history. Demonstrating mitigating factors can further reduce the fine, and paying the penalty in full within 21 days can lead to a 30% reduction.

It is vital to note that while you may receive a fine, other repercussions may affect your business. The Home Office may downgrade or suspend your sponsor license if they have concerns about your sponsorship compliance. Additionally, they may refuse to renew your sponsor license if you have a history of non-compliance with illegal working rules, and a 12-month cooling-off period could be imposed, requiring you to wait a year before reapplying.

Mitigating Factors for a UK Immigration Civil Penalty
Mitigating factors can help you avoid or reduce the financial penalty levied by the Home Office. These factors include:
  • The extent of right-to-work checks conducted (Full, partial, or none)
  • Cooperation with the Home Office throughout the process
  • Previous warnings or penalties (first and second penalties carry lower fines)
  • Reporting suspicions to the Home Office (which may result in reduced fines)
Appealing Immigration Civil Penalties
If you disagree with the Home Office’s decision to issue a civil penalty, you can object within 28 days. After considering your objection, the Home Office will respond with one of the following
  • A Warning Notice
  • A new UK Immigration Civil Penalty Notice (which may include a larger penalty)
  • An Objection Outcome Notice (Penalty maintained)
  • An Objection Outcome Notice (Penalty reduced)
  • An Objection Outcome Notice (Penalty canceled)

Should you remain dissatisfied or not receive a decision within 28 days, you can appeal to a civil court by completing and submitting Form N1611. Additionally, you must serve your appeal papers to the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Potential Outcomes of the Appeal The court may:

  • Allow your appeal and cancel the fine
  • Allow your appeal and reduce the fine
  • Dismiss the appeal
How Amicis Legal Services Ltd Can Help
As experts in business immigration law, we can advise and represent you if you receive a UK immigration civil penalty. Our immigration solicitors can:
  • Liaise with the Home Office if you have received a warning notice or face fines from immigration enforcement
  • Manage the appeal process if you have received a civil penalty under the UK Immigration Act
  • Explain and provide evidence of any mitigating factors to the Home Office
  • Prevent illegal working by conducting mock UK immigration compliance audits and providing bespoke HR training
  • Offer comprehensive guidance on employing overseas workers in the UK

For further assistance or inquiries, please contact Amicis Legal Services Ltd via email at We are here to support you in ensuring compliance with immigration regulations and safeguarding your business interests.

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