If you employ someone who is subject to immigration control and lacks the right to work in the UK, you are liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per worker. If you do it knowingly, you face an unlimited fine, up to six months in prison or both. I'm sure you already check the right to work for all prospective employees before they start, but what about people you acquire through TUPE?
TUPE is silent on the obligations of the outgoing employer to carry out checks. The Home Office guidance says that you have 'a grace period of 60 days from the date of the transfer of the business to correctly carry out the statutory document checks for these new employees'. So, what should you do?
Carry out due diligence on the processes that the outgoing employer follows to prevent illegal working.
Obtain a warranty and indemnity cover from the outgoing employer for liabilities incurred up to the point of transfer.
Trust no one
Don't rely on assurances from the outgoing employer that they have carried out the checks. Do your own as soon as possible and certainly within 60 days of the transfer.