UK not ‘soft touch’ on illegal migrants: Minister

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Aug 26, 2015 13:06 IST
Migrants try to board lorries bound for the United Kingdom from Calais, France in July this year. (Getty images)

Britain on Tuesday announced a crackdown on illegal migrants and on foreign nationals who are ineligible to work and found working, creating a new offence in law that would allow jailing them for six months and seizing wages earned illegally.

The measures are intended to create a hostile atmosphere for illegal migrants. The measures that also target employers who employ illegal migrants are to be included in a new immigration bill to be introduced in parliament later this year.

A Home Office spokeswoman told HT that the measures to combat on illegal working included a change in the law on deliberately employing illegal workers to enable more prosecutions of rogue businesses.

They also include requiring late night takeaways and off-licences to comply with immigration laws as a condition of obtaining and holding licences—failure to do so could lead to losing licences.

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said: “Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt—if you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car.”

The new powers in the bill is expected to make it easier to prosecute an employer who knows, or reasonably suspects, that the person they employ has no permission to work in the UK.

“Further new powers will also mean any pub, off-licence or late night takeaway that fails to comply with immigration laws or employs illegal workers could be stripped of their licence to operate. Consideration is also being given to extend these powers to cover minicab drivers and operators,” the spokeswoman said.

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