Is it an offence to employ a foreign national who is subject to immigration control?

Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, it is not an offence to employ someone who is subject to immigration control, provided that he or she has leave to enter or remain in the UK and is not prevented from working. However, it is a criminal offence knowingly to take on a foreign national who has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK, or who does not have permission to work in the UK.

From 12 July 2016, the definition of the criminal offence is extended so that it is not limited to the situation where it can be shown that the employer "knowingly" employed a foreign national who does not hold the right to work in the UK; instead it will also be an offence for the employer to employ such an individual when it has "reasonable cause to believe" that he or she does not hold the right to work in the UK.