Emboldened by the May 7 electoral majority, UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday announced a slew of measures to crack down on illegal immigrants that include making it an offence for them to work, and to confiscate their earnings as “proceeds of crime”.
A new bill to this effect will be included in the Queen’s Speech to the new Parliament next week. The measures were announced on a day when new figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that net migration during the last year was at one of its highest levels in recent years.
Cameron indicated that during the last coalition government, tough measures on immigration had been blocked by the Department of Business and Skills, which was headed by the senior Liberal Democrats leader, Vince Cable. The new steps include additional curbs on employers to recruit from outside the European Union.He said, "The truth is it has been too easy to work illegally and employ illegal workers here. So we’ll take a radical step — we’ll make illegal working a criminal offence in its own right. That means wages paid to illegal migrants will be seized as proceeds of crime".
The new measures are targeted not only at people from outside the European Union, but also from those within the union, who have the right of free movement. As Britain’s economy recovers, there has been a significant increase of migrants coming from within the EU.
The new Immigration Bill, he said, would focus on three aspects: Dealing with those who should not be in Britain, by rooting out illegal immigrants and boosting deportations; reforming immigration and labour market rules, to reduce the demand for skilled migrant labour and crack down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers; and addressing the spike in EU migration by renegotiating in Europe.