The Home Office has reported today that two suspected immigration offenders have been arrested in Wales, following immigration raids by their immigration enforcement team. Immigration raids by the Home Office 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 Immigration Enforcement Team Make Arrests in Wales
On 5 February 2014, the Home Office’s immigration enforcement team raided a retail clothing store in Rhyl, Wales where they arrested a 25 year old Indian national after checks revealed that he had overstayed his visa. The retail clothing store has now been served with a notice warning that they face civil penalties of up to £10,000 for employing an illegal worker. The penalty will be imposed unless proof is provided by the employer that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
Commenting on the raid, Richard Johnson, from the Wales Home Office immigration enforcement team, stated:
“The message to employers in Wales who choose to use illegal labour is clear. We will catch you and you will face a heavy penalty.”
Similarly, the Home Office’s immigration enforcement team carried out raids at Min-Y-Mart convenience store in Pencoed, Wales and arrested a 29-year-old Sri Lankan man who was discovered working in breach of his visa conditions. Both men are now in detention while steps are taken to remove them from the country.
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. It should be noted that the House of Lords will be considering the Immigration Bill during second reading on Monday 10 February 2014. 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.