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Employers of illegal migrants face UK government crackdown

OWoN: Stopping the illegals from working hits back at their wanton indifference to British Nationals rights and helps persuade them to leave. Maybe the undocumented Kenyan can advise them.

The initiative comes as the government faces criticism over its reaction to the crisis in Calais

Employers of illegal migrants face UK government crackdown

Financial Times
By John Aglionby
10 Augaust 2015

Companies employing illegal migrants in the UK will be the target of a government crackdown focusing on the construction, care and cleaning sectors, with the Home Office saying raids will be carried out in the autumn.

The initiative comes as the government faces criticism over its reaction to the crisis in Calais, where thousands of illegal migrants, mostly from Syria and Africa, are seeking to cross the Channel by stowing away on trucks and trying to walk through the tunnel.

Hundreds have been stopped every night for the past few weeks, causing disruption to transportation, particularly for the road freight industry and holidaymakers.

James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, said: “Rogue employers who give jobs to illegal migrants are denying work to UK citizens and legal migrants and helping drive down wages.”

The Times, which first reported the story, said customs officials would be joined by staff from the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, the Care Quality Commission and the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Brokenshire said companies that were employing illegal migrants were likely to be breaking other laws.

“Experience tells us that employers who are prepared to cheat employment rules are also likely to breach health and safety rules and pay insufficient tax,” he said.

Yvette Cooper, shadow home secretary and Labour leadership candidate, agreed that action to identify employers exploiting illegal working was important because some of it constituted “modern slavery”.

But if the government was serious about tackling the problem, she said it should have supported Labour plans to extend gangmaster laws to more sectors. “When they had the chance in the Commons to support these proposals they voted against [them].”

In the run-up to the May general election, Labour emphasised the importance of addressing public concern about the effects of immigration on the labour market by imposing tougher penalties on businesses using illegal workers and enforcing payment of the minimum wage.

The announcement of the crackdown comes as Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, called for EU laws to be changed so that illegal migrants could be returned to their home countries.

“As long as there are large numbers of pretty desperate migrants marauding around the area, there always will be a threat to the tunnel security,” he told the BBC on Sunday during a trip to Singapore. “We’ve got to resolve this problem, ultimately by being able to return those who are not entitled to claim asylum to their countries of origin.

“That is not a sustainable situation, because Europe can’t protect itself and preserve its standard of living and social structure if it has to absorb millions of migrants from Africa.”

Mr Hammond’s comments were condemned by the opposition. Ms Cooper and fellow leadership candidate Liz Kendall described them respectively as “alarmist and unhelpful” and “dehumanising”, while the Liberal Democrats’ Alistair Carmichael said they were “hostile and unsavoury”.

“Britain can’t escape the problem just by sounding ‘tough’ — it needs to take a lead,” Mr Carmichael said. “It’s time we proved our worth on the world stage, signed up to the EU asylum policy and accept our share of vulnerable refugees, rather than expect other countries to do it for us.”

It is unclear how many illegal migrants there are in the UK.

Additional reporting by Helen Warrell


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