16 October 2015

Operation Magnify Targets Illegal Working in Construction

The Home Office has recently launched Operation Magnify to target businesses that employ and exploit illegal migrant workers.

Build UK has been working with the Home Office to highlight the ‘right to work’ checks that all businesses should undertake to ensure potential employees are legally allowed to do the work in question. Earlier this week, Build UK was part of an industry roundtable with Immigration Minister James Brokenshire to discuss how Government and industry can tackle the issue.

Operation Magnify combines education of employers on the importance of right to work checks and enforcement by immigration officers who are carrying out ‘compliance checks’ on construction sites and working with employers to identify and purge forged documents.

In carrying out right to work checks there is a three step process that should be followed:

1. Obtain the person’s original documents
2. Check that they are valid in the presence of the holder
3. Make and retain a clear copy and record the date of the check.

Legal liability lies with the employer – but they can avoid a civil or criminal penalty if found to be employing an illegal worker provided that the right checks have been carried out. Government has stressed that failure to do so could ultimately result in: 

• financial loss either through a civil penalty or significant delays and disruption to a project;
• the risk of invalidating insurance and liability cover;
• damage to reputation from employing illegal workers who don’t have the right skills or training.

The Home Office has produced a series of materials to explain the checks including posters, a slide-pack and video.

Any employer who has concerns about checking a job applicant’s right to work in the UK can contact the Government’s dedicated support line on 0300 123 4699.