UK Immigration Raids: Home Office’s Tough Stance on Illegal Workers

The Home Office’s immigration raids are beginning to become more common in recent news as reports reveal that the Home Office have taken a harsh stance towards those suspected of living and working illegally in the UK. The Home Office are also toughening up on UK business owners who are employing migrants from outside the EEA and intend to toughen civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants once the Immigration Bill becomes law.

Home Office: Arrests in Alleged Illegal Working Operations

This week, the Home Office revealed that five alleged illegal workers have been arrested in Surrey, following operations carried out by immigration officers for the Home Office. Immigration Officers raided Meghalaya Indian Restaurant in Cranleigh; Merrow Dynasty Indian Restaurant and Perfect Pizza in Guildford last week.

After questioning workers and carrying out checks to see if the individuals had the right to be in the UK, the immigration officers arrested four Bangladeshi men who had overstayed their visas and a 22 year old Afghan man found to be a failed asylum seeker. Those arrested were transferred to an immigration detention pending removal from the UK.

Immigration Arrests Will Act as ‘Stark Warning’

Speaking on the raids, Paul Smith of the Thames Valley and Surrey Immigration Enforcement Team stated:

“These arrests will act as a stark warning to anyone in Surrey who is in the UK illegally. We will catch up with you and you will face arrest, detention and removal from the country. Illegal working has a negative impact on communities. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.”

Home Office’s Penalties for UK Employers who Employ Illegal Workers

Currently, an employer could be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker and/or face criminal prosecution if it fails to carry out the appropriate checks on their employees.

The government intends to toughen civil penalties for businesses employing illegal migrants once the Immigration Bill becomes law. The following is a summary of these proposals:

  • The maximum penalty for employing illegal workers will increase to £20,000;
  • The way civil penalties are calculated will be simplified;
  • The way unpaid penalties can be enforced in the civil courts will be simplified; and
  • There will be measures to allow recovery of a civil penalty from directors and partners of limited liability businesses following failure to pay by the businesses.

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 these 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.

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