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Brokenshire's Britain - Full Force of Government to Hit Employers of Illegals

10 August 2015 | Updated 01 January 1970

War has been declared on cleaning companies, building firms, care homes and others that employ illegal migrants. Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has said: "We are creating a controlled immigration system that truly works in the best interests of Britain.

"Rogue employers who give jobs to illegal migrants are denying work to UK citizens and legal migrants and helping drive down wages.

"Experience tells us that employers who are prepared to cheat employment rules are also likely to breach health and safety rules and pay insufficient tax.

"That's why our new approach will be to use the full force of government machinery to hit them from all angles and take away the unfair advantage enjoyed by those who employ illegal migrants.”

Currently, employers can be fined up to £20,000 per person for employing illegal workers (though between 2009 and 2013 only one third of imposed fines were collected). Employers who knowingly employ an illegal worker can be jailed for up to two years.

The Times claims immigration officers are to carry out raids on cleaning firms, building sites and care homes, while the BBC says Immigration Enforcement teams will carry out more raids, along with bodies such as HM Revenue & Customs, the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority and Health and Safety Executive taking part.

Yvette Cooper, Shadow Home Secretary, has said the government should extend the Gangmasters' Licensing Authority and to make exploitation a crime.

On July 31, the new Modern Slavery Act came into force. Criminals convicted of human trafficking and modern slavery now face being sentenced to life in prison.


How many?

In 2011, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimated the use of illegal immigrants at 1% of total employment in the UK.

A London School of Economics study (using a methodology established at the time of the 2001 census and extrapolating the figures) estimated a lower, central and higher figure for 'irregular residents' - 417, 618 or 863 thousands. Irregular residents are those staying beyond the time they were allowed, including failed asylum seekers. The organisation, Migration Watch puts the figure at over 1 million. The LSE research did not include those legally in the UK on visas but working illegally.


Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 10 August 2015


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