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Section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 is the primary measure for combating illegal working. It provides employers with a statutory defence from conviction if they check and record certain specified documents belonging to potential employees. All employers in the UK, including councils, have a responsibility to ensure that they do not employ anyone who does not have leave to be in the UK and undertake the work in question.
Where an employment agency employs people and provides their services to a user, then it is the responsibility of the employment agency to carry out proper document checks. Where an employment agency is simply recruiting people to be employed by a client, then it is the client’s responsibility to carry out checks. Where there is any doubt about the employment relationship, we advise that both the employment agency and client should carry out checks.