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should be noted that no fi rm deadline seems to have been placed on the proposals to reduce the number of documents needed for employers to conduct such checks. The Bill simply states that this will take place ‘over time’. As a result, the consequences of the Bill may be that, for now, fi nes are both higher and more likely, as checking the right employees have to work in the UK remains a fairly laborious process for the employer.


Romania And Bulgaria One piece of good news for cleaning companies, however, is the fact that Romanian and Bulgarian nationals will gain full right to work in the UK from 2014. Previously, it had been the case that employers could be prosecuted for employing Romanian or Bulgarians who had not been given permission to work in the UK by the Home Offi ce. This should help reduce the burden of checking the right to work of such nationals, many of which operate in the facilities management and hospitality sectors.


At this moment in time, the UK Border Agency will fi ne a company £10,000 for each illegal migrant worker being employed; £57.5million in fi nes were handed out towards the end of 2012. Despite this huge fi gure, the new Immigration Bill looks to double the maximum penalty for employing illegal migrant workers from £10,000 per worker to £20,000.


Not only are such fi nes likely to place signifi cant fi nancial pressure on anyone found to be employing illegal cleaners, but the business’ details can also be published by the UK Border Agency, as a warning to other businesses not to employ illegal workers. Such an act can be devastating for a reputation, but stricter still, the employer can be jailed for up to two years and receive an unlimited fi ne if they were to knowingly employ an illegal worker.


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A Continuous Obligation As a cleaning company, it’s not enough to simply carry out right-to- work checks when your cleaners fi rst begin their work with you. The immigration status of an individual can change, and often the employee will fail to notify their employer. It is believed that this was how ten illegal immigrants at KGB Cleaners managed to end up cleaning in the Palace of Westminster.


Given the increase in risk for a cleaner’s employer to neglect to establish whether they have the right to work in the UK, it is fi tting that the Bill has also shown a desire to simplify how such checks need to be carried out. However, whilst these efforts to simplify right-to-work checks for compliant, legitimate employers are to be welcomed, it


It is hoped that cleaning companies will continue to do their best in order to comply with the new law, and there is an increasing trend amongst them to vet their cleaners. Cleancare International is one of many cleaning organisations to have started vetting their cleaners to confi rm their right to work in the UK, as well as their criminal history.


Chris Capocci, Managing Director at Cleancare International London, said: “At Cleancare, we recognise the importance of carrying out thorough background checks on our cleaners, as it gives our clients complete confi dence in our brand. We are proud of the fact that all of our cleaners are thoroughly vetted.”


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FEATURE | 41


Photo By ukhomeoffi ce via StockPholio.com


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