Threefold increase to civil penalties regime from 13 February 2024

In August 2023, we reported on the government’s announcement of an increase to civil penalty fines for employers and landlords who employ or let properties to foreign nationals who do not have the right to work or reside in the UK.

The Home Office has now communicated that the increase to civil penalty fines for employers and landlords will come into force on 13 February 2024. From this date, the fine for employers who employ illegal workers will triple from:

  • £15,000 to £45,000 for a first offence.
  • £20,000 to £60,000 per breach for repeat offenders.

Fines for landlords who illegally rent to those in the UK without status will increase as follows:

  • Penalties for first breach will increase from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier to up to £5,000 per lodger and up to £10,000 per occupier.
  • Penalties for repeat breaches will increase from £500 per lodger and £3,000 per occupier to up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier. 

The Home Office has also published an updated Code of Practice for the Right to Work Scheme, also coming into force on 13 February 2024, which can be found at Illegal working penalties: codes of practice for employers - GOV.UK ( The equivalent document for landlords can be found at Right to rent immigration checks: landlords' code of practice - GOV.UK (

This sets out the process for how to conduct the required right to work checks and the information that must be retained by employers to obtain a statutory excuse against liability for a civil penalty. There is also information regarding how the Home Office determines the value of the civil penalty in cases where illegal working is identified. 

It’s essential to ensure that right to work and right to rent checks are being done correctly in the first instance, before employment or renting begins, as a statutory excuse cannot be obtained retrospectively. 

Shoosmiths is able to offer support with right to work/rent checks in a wide range of ways, including bespoke training programmes for our clients or initial and ongoing support with right to work/rent queries. Our next webinar, Right to Rent: Landlords & Liabilities, will take place on 14 February 2024 and invites will be circulated in due course. Please email [email protected] if you’re interested in signing up for this.


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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