By Daniel Hunter

A recruitment firm has welcomed plans to double the maximum fine for employing illegal workers.

David Cameron announced the measure on Monday in a wide-ranging and controversial speech on immigration.

If the proposal is implemented, a company found to be employing a worker who isn’t legally entitled to work in the UK could be fined £20,000, instead of the current maximum of £10,000.

Gap personnel, one of the UK’s largest industrial labour providers, believes increasing the maximum fine would discourage employers from using “ignorant” agencies that fail to carry out right-to-work checks on suspected illegal workers.

Gary Dewhurst, chief executive officer (CEO) at gap personnel, said: “Currently, the UK Border Agency has the power to issue civil penalties of up to £10,000 to employers for every illegal worker.

“Despite this, not all recruitment firms carry out the relevant checks during the recruitment process.

“It may be difficult to believe, but many agencies don’t even seem to realise they are legally required to carry out certain ID checks on candidates they put forward to their clients.

“As a responsible staffing business, we take legal issues such as a candidate’s right to work in the UK extremely seriously and have never been fined for failing to carry out a right-to-work check.

“Raising the maximum fine to £20,000 would discourage employers from using ignorant or disreputable agencies, forcing these agencies to adapt or die.

“The measure therefore has the potential to significantly raise standards in the recruitment industry. For this reason we believe it should be welcomed.”

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