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Work Permits

Volume 475: debated on Monday 28 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of illegal migrants employed in the UK without a valid work permit. (199167)

[holding answer 21 April 2008]: Since the phasing out of border controls in 1994, no Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally and that includes illegal workers. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately and that remains the case.

As one of the Government's 10 substantive changes to the border and immigration system in 2008 we will count in and out the majority of foreign nationals. This will build on the successes of our early testing of the e-Borders programme (Project Semaphore) which already covers over 30 million passenger movements and has led to 18,000 alerts and more than 1,500 arrests.

This is part of a large-scale programme of reform to border protection which also includes the global roll-out of fingerprint visas, compulsory watch-list checks for all travellers from high-risk countries before they land in Britain and ID cards for foreign nationals.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many employers in the residential and care home industries were (a) prosecuted and (b) fined for employing workers without valid work permits in each of the last three years; (199163)

(2) how many agricultural employers were (a) prosecuted and (b) fined for employing workers without valid work permits in each of the last three years;

(3) how many people were (a) arrested for, (b) prosecuted for and (c) convicted of working illegally in the UK without a valid work permit in each of the last three years;

(4) how much was collected in fines from employers of workers without valid work permits in each of the last three years;

There are no centrally collated reports on how many employers have been prosecuted specifically within the residential care home and agricultural industries.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons proceeded against for offences under Immigration Acts 1971 to 2004 in England and Wales on an annual basis in table 6.7 of the Control of Immigration: Statistics Command Paper. Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate web site at:

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

No data are held centrally on the total amount of fines collected from employers prosecuted for employing those without a valid work permit.