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Home Office Campaign against illegal working continues

Posted: 13th May 2016

The Home Office is continuing its work against illegal working through Operation Magnify, a UK-wide enforcement and compliance campaign to prevent illegal working in various sectors of the UK economy including in the construction sector.

Although many construction businesses complete the right to work checks, we know that stolen and counterfeit documents are used, sometimes by criminal gangs, to enable migrants to work illegally in the UK.

If stolen and counterfeit documents are not spotted, businesses can also inadvertently allow immigration offenders through security vetting checks. This may result in granting illegal workers access to critical national infrastructure projects.

Immigration officers are working closely with other government departments, including HMRC and DWP to share data to identify immigration offenders and take action against those who have taken advantage of illegal workers. Companies working in specialised and sensitive construction projects have a clear responsibility to safeguard the integrity of identity checking processes.

To achieve this, construction businesses must have a strong understanding of the seriousness of this issue across the organisation. It’s equally important to place emphasis on supporting HR and vetting teams to deliver a robust and accurate checking regime and establish clear lines of responsibility to combat complacency and prevent vulnerabilities in the system being exploited.

New legislation
Through the Immigration Bill we are making it harder for people to live and work illegally in the UK.

The new legislation includes:

  • Imposing tougher penalties and sanctions on rogue employers who exploit illegal migrants for their own gain.
  • Making it a criminal offence to work illegally and seize wages from illegal working and the proceeds of crime.
  • Prosecuting employers who ‘turn a blind eye’ to employing illegal migrants, and increase custodial sentences.
  • Closing businesses that continue to flout the law through the use of illegal labour.

Helping you to make checks
To help us tackle the problem of illegal working, we are reminding those within the construction sector of guidance available to undertake right to work checks. We encourage you to raise awareness of these issues by sharing the links below with colleagues and your supply chain.

  • The 3 step check poster is available on
  • Watch our ‘How to make a right to work check’ video on YouTube.
  • Guidance on how to make right to work checks can be found on
  • Consult our forgery detection guide.

Anyone with concerns about illegal working or non compliant employers should report this to the Home Office.

If you are considering producing any specific right to work articles in either internal or external publications or online please contact the Home Office Strategic Communications team.