Dawn Raid Guide: Customs authorities

The detection and prosecution of illicit (undeclared) employment or other breaches of employment or social insurance law regulations is the task of the Customs authorities, more specifically the Office of Financial Control of Undeclared Employment (Finanzkontrolle Schwarzarbeit, “FKS”), as part of the competent regional main Customs office. The FKS has a double role here: it can carry out preventative spot checks in order to check compliance with employment, aliens and social insurance law regulations. In case of criminal or administrative offences in connection with illegal employment (e.g. undeclared employment, withholding of social security contributions, unauthorised employment of foreigners, the infringement of minimum working conditions, illegal supply of temporary workers) or the evasion of customs duties or consumer taxes, it is also the investigative authority for the public prosecutor’s office or the responsible fines office. 

If employees of the Customs office are acting as investigating officials for the public prosecutor’s office or the administrative fine authority, they can carry out searches. The purpose of this is to investigate circumstances suspected of being illegal by finding and securing evidence. Searches normally begin in the early morning, which is why they are referred to as “dawn raids”. What you can and may do or should avoid doing can be found here: Advice on conduct with respect to public prosecutors

In the context of preventative checks on compliance with employment, aliens or social insurance law regulations the officials of the Office of Financial Control of Undeclared Employment can, however, likewise carry out inspections which are similar to a search.