Employers have had a duty to prevent illegal working since 1997. In 2016, we introduced tougher sanctions on rogue employers and made illegal working a criminal offence, so that wages can be seized as proceeds of crime. We have recently introduced additional safeguards to protect legal migrants seeking employment who do not have the necessary documentation to establish their lawful immigration status.
I welcome my right hon. Friend’s commitment to reducing illegal immigration. Does she agree that the best way to deter illegal migrants from looking for work in the UK is by preventing their entering the country with stringent checks at air and sea ports?
I thank my hon. Friend for that question. All passengers arriving in the UK at passport control are checked against watch lists on arrival at the border. The majority of those people are checked against our systems before they even travel, through the collection of advance passenger information. Between April 2010 and March 2018, we refused entry to 138,992 people, including more than 18,000 in the year to March 2018.
Those seeking asylum in the UK are currently banned from working and, as a result, they are forced to live in penury and are denied the right to contribute their skills to our society. Does the Minister agree that this system is lacking in both compassion and common sense? Will she reform it?
Our asylum system provides accommodation and funding for those who are here during the process of their asylum claim. The hon. Gentleman makes an important point: we must continue to make sure that the UK has one of the most humane asylum systems in the world. We are working very hard to make sure we do that.