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What the law says It is a criminal offence for you to employ someone aged 16 or over who has no right to work in the United Kingdom. The law gives employers a statutory defence against conviction for employing an illegal worker, which is that they can prove they have checked and copied certain original documents, which you should ask your employee to produce. Penalties The maximum penalty for knowingly hiring illegal workers is an unlimited fine and a possible two year custodial sentence. The maximum penalty for hiring an illegal worker due to failing to carry out the required