Yesterday, the UK Home Office revealed that their Immigration Officers arrested more than 14,000 illegal migrant workers in 2014. The Immigration Officers targeted ‘curry houses, Chinese restaurants and car washes’, up and down the UK. The figure released by the UK Home Office is significantly higher than the number of illegal migrant workers arrested in 2011 (7,500).
£1.5 Million in Fines for Employing Illegal Migrants
Due to the number of illegal migrants found working in Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Chinese restaurants there is an estimated £1.5 million in fines outstanding. Last year the UK Government toughened the Immigration Rules by raising civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants to £20,000 per person.
The majority of illegal migrants arrested last year had either overstayed their UK visas or were smuggled into the country. One of the restaurants targeted by Immigration Officers was based in Levenshulme and faces a fine of £120,000. A total of 6 employees were arrested, 5 from Pakistan and 1 from Afghanistan. A further 3 men from Afghanistan were arrested but the owner of the restaurant stresses that these illegal migrants have no association with his restaurant.
The UK Home Office commented on their crackdown on exposing UK employers exploiting migrant workers:
“These figures show our intelligence led approach is working. We are targeting industries and areas where abuse is most common and we’ve doubled the fines for businesses which flout the rules.”
UK Employer’s Legal Responsibilities
UK employers have the responsibility is to ensure that non-EEA migrants who they employ have valid leave to remain in the UK. Individuals who are considered to be illegal workers are:
- students with expired visas, or students working more hours than they’re allowed to; or
- people who work on a visitor’s visa.
If you are a director/ owner of a company and you want clarification of your legal responsibility we can arrange for you to have a detailed consultation with our expert Immigration Solicitors. UK employers should also be aware they face a fine of up to £20,000 per person for employing illegal workers.
Immigration Legal Advice for UK Employers & Illegal Workers
If you are a UK business and have been affected by the Home Office’s raids, contact us to discuss this further. Business owners sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor migrants and must have a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. If the Home Office has contacted you in relation to carrying out a compliance visit at your business premises, contact us for legal advice.
Illegal migrants with strong Human Rights arguments ought to take legal advice and regularise their stay in the UK as soon as possible and before it is too late. Contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of regularising your stay.