Tougher sanctions against employers of irregular migrants unveiled

Rogue businesses employing irregular migrants risk a fine of £20,000 per illegal worker under new measures unveiled by the government.

The government has launched a consultation on measures to toughen civil penalties against rogue businesses employing irregular migrants while cutting red tape for legitimate employers.

The proposals outlined in the latest consultation will simplify and strengthen the current civil penalty scheme to prevent illegal working, the government said. The plans will form part of the Immigration Bill, being introduced later this year.

Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “This government is committed to taking action to effectively tackle illegal working. Illegal working encourages illegal immigration, it undercuts legitimate businesses by illegal cost-cutting activity, and is often associated with exploitative behaviour like tax evasion and harmful working conditions.”

At the same time, the government has unveiled a number of proposals to help legitimate businesses. They include: reducing the number of documents an employer needs to check to establish a right to work; replacing annual follow-up checks for non-EEA nationals with ones to coincide with the expiry of permission to be in the country; simplifying the operation of the scheme and the guidance for employers; and helping prevent undercutting by rogue employers.
The government’s consultation on these proposals will run for six weeks, until 20th August 2013.

The civil penalty consultation can be accessed on the Home Office website at

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