British Government to crackdown on illegal workers

The British Government is set to anounce sweeping changes to employment andimmigration laws in a move designed to flush out up to 500,000 illegal foreignworkers.

Immigration "hit squads" will concentrate on industries such as:

  • hotel and catering,
  • construction,
  • clothes manufacturing,
  • agricultural; and
  • information technology industries

as part of a programme to treble the rate of removal of illegal immigrantsand failed asylum-seekers to 2,500 a week.

Lord Rooker, the Immigration minister, has promised that a series of"high-profile prosecutions" of employers will send a message that itis no longer safe to work illegally in Britain.

As part of its White Paper on Asylum, Immigration and Citizenship, theGovernment will frame a code of conduct for employers in hiring foreign workerswhich they will have to abide by, or face being taken to court.

In addition, employers who are found to have been deliberately complicit inbringing illegal immigrants to Britain to work could face sentences of up to 14years.

Lord Rooker claimed it was easier to work illegally in Britain "than inany other country in the European Union".

"There are small firms in this country which are paying the minimumwage, struggling to make ends meet, keeping going, and being undercut by someother types of firms who are employing illegal labour."

Prosecutions of employers for using illegal workers were currently"virtually non-existent", he said. "We are going to tackle thisin a much more high-profile way as a means of sending the signal back down theline. A few big prosecutions will send the right signal."

Some industries within the British economy were clearly using large numbersof illegal workers, he said. "We are having a look, sector by sector. Wehave areas where it is known there is a propensity to have labour that is notlegal. Illegal workers would face being deported, he said. "There will beno amnesties. Some people will be sent packing, there's no question about that.If nothing else it will help us to meet our removal targets."

The Government is anxious to give employers more opportunities to fill skillshortages by legally hiring foreign staff.

An overseas advertising campaign will attempt to lure up to 350,000specialist workers to Britain. The message from the government is clear - if youwant to work in the UK - you will have to have the proper permission.

You will find extensive information on working lawfully in the UK at the followingsection of our website If you or your employer would like our help inworking legally in the UK please contact us on +44 (0)20 7495 3999.