Illegal Workers in Construction – CCS Spotlight

The Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) have updated their semi-annual ‘Spotlight’ feature to focus on Illegal Working. The issue of illegal workers in construction is a growing one, with as many as 81% of industry employees believing it to have increased over the last 15 years, and 33% suspecting that it has taken place at a present or former employer (CCS Survey).

What Is Meant By Illegal Workers?

Illegal working is undertaken by individuals who are subject to UK immigration control and have either entered the UK unlawfully, overstayed their permission to be here, or have permission to be in the UK but are subject to a condition preventing them from working.

Why Is It A Problem?

The construction industry is particularly vulnerable to the problem of illegal workers. As a labour-intensive, in-demand job, where lots of people are self-employed, it can be difficult to regulate. There is also a significant skills deficit within the industry, and with tight budgets, illegal workers can be tempting.

Illegal workers can pose significant Health & Safety risks, with 30% of people surveyed believing it to be the single greatest risk, largely down to potential language barriers. Employing illegal workers can affect all aspects of a business. If found guilty, companies and directors can face a fine of up to £60,000 per illegal employee, and in some cases a prison sentence. Additionally, the reputation of company can be severely damaged.

What Are The CCS Doing To Combat The Issue?

The CCS address illegal working in their Code of Conduct, under Value the Workforce section. They require the ‘Registered Activity’ to have a documented competency matrix for all contractor and sub-contractor employees. They also require training on Modern Slavery be given to the workforce and provide a whistleblower process.

Compliance with the above forms part of the routine audits that CCS carry out on all Registered Activities.

Employers should follow 3 simple steps to ensure compliance:

> Obtain original document(s) specified in the Home Office’s published acceptable documents list
> Check the validity of the documents against the holder; and
> Retain copies of the documents and note the date on which the check was made.

It is important to note that since January 2021, EU and EEA citizens are required to demonstrate their immigration status.

The current toolkit can be found at the CCS website

How Can WPSCC Help?

Here at WPSCC, we have extensive experience in supporting projects with their CCS requirements. We can create and maintain evidence folders, arrange site visits both to prepare for CCS audits, and help with any issues raised. We have a strong, positive history of successful audits, with the majority of our clients achieving a score of 37 or more.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch:


Call us NOW on 01604 859961, or email [email protected] to ask our advice / guidance



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