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Following the increased media coverage of the migrant crisis in Calais, the government has declared that it will step up its efforts to find and punish employers of illegal workers.
In a statement on Monday 10 August, James Brokenshire, the immigration minister stated; “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.”
The Times believes that immigration officers across the UK are being prepared to carry out raids. The industries that are likely to feel the full brunt of this new wave of force are care, cleaning and construction. If illegal migrants are found working, employers can be charged up to £20,000 per person. Should evidence be found that proves the employer knowingly provided work, jail sentences of up to two years are a possibility.
The last time a major study of migration figures took place was in 2009, it was carried out by the London School of Economics on behalf of London Mayor Boris Johnson. The study found that the UK had 618,000 “irregular” residents. Shortly after the findings were released campaign group Migration Watch claimed the likely figure was closer to 1,100,000.
The Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority was established in 2005 to prevent the exploitation of workers in the UK. It will be part of the ‘crackdown’ team along with Immigration Enforcement, HM Revenue & Customs and the Health & Safety Executive. The current shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has called for the GLA to be extended as part of a long term objective to “make exploitation a crime”. She continued “Exploitation hurts everyone – those who are being exploited and other workers whose pay and jobs are undercut”. It is also possible that many responsible and innocent employers may find themselves in trouble with the authorities.
The Immigration Advice Service has been set up to support people who are likely to be affected by the impending crackdown. Our team of fully trained and qualified immigration solicitors have extensive knowledge of immigration legislation, rules and regulations. If you are employing migrant workers, or if you have come from overseas to work in the UK, and are worried about the impact crackdown will have on you, ring one of our specialist advisors now on 0844 887 0111. Together we can prepare and find a solution.