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Immigrants: Employment

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employers have been prosecuted for illegally employing irregular migrants during the last 12 months. (134817)

The information requested could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.

Published statistics are not available for the period requested; the latest 12 month period for which information can be provided is 2005. In 2005, 23 employers were proceeded against under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 (employing a person aged 16 or above subject to immigration control and who is not entitled to work in the UK or to undertake the employment in question) in the magistrates courts. No persons were tried for the same offence at the Crown court in 2005.

We recognise that the number of prosecutions under section 8 is low, and that is why we have committed to bring forward the introduction of measures contained in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 to tackle illegal migrant working, which will provide the Border and Immigration Agency with a range of tools with which to tackle non-compliance. The 2006 Act introduces a system of civil penalties for employers who through negligence employ illegal migrant workers, alongside a tough new offence for those knowingly employing illegal workers, which will carry a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine. These new measures will come into force in late 2007.

On 15 May 2007 the Border and Immigration Agency published ‘Prevention of illegal working; Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006; Consultation on the implementation of new powers to prevent illegal migrant working in the UK’. This document contains our action plan for tackling illegal working. Copies have been placed in the House Library and can be downloaded from the Border and Immigration Agency website at: