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Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department by what procedures her Department investigates whether an employer is aware that an employee does not have the right to work in Britain. (169704)

All Border and Immigration Agency investigations into potential offences under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 are undertaken in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and the guidance in chapter 55 of the Border and Immigration Agency’s Operational Enforcement Manual entitled “Preventing illegal working”, which is published on the Border and Immigration Agency website.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firms were (a) charged and (b) convicted for employing illegal workers in 2006 in (i) England and Wales and (ii) the West Midlands. (170203)

Information is not available on the number of employers charged for employing a person subject to immigration control; however, information on those proceeded against is available.

Eleven defendants were proceeded against under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 for employing a person aged 16 and above subject to immigration control in England and Wales in 2006; of these, seven were found guilty.

One defendant was proceeded against under section 8 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 in the West Midlands police area in 2006; this person was found guilty.

We took steps in 2004 to make the section 8 offence easier to enforce and prosecution activity has increased subsequently. We are committed to bringing forward the implementation 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 wider and more effective range of tools with which to tackle non-compliance. The 2006 Act introduces a system of civil penalties for employers who employ illegal migrants through less than diligent practices, alongside a tough new offence for those who knowingly employ illegal migrants, which will carry a maximum two-year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine. These new measures will come into force on 29 February 2008.

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.