UK Border Agency (UKBA) will ‘name and shame’ bosses who employ illegal immigrants as part of of tough new measures announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced today.
New teams of locally based immigration officers will work alongside ‘Local Crime Partnerships’ with police, as part of a “major refocus” of the UKBA enforcement efforts.
Up to 7,500 UKBA officers and staff throughout the UK are being reorganised into 70-80 Local Immigration Teams, with a “mission to focus on local immigration crime”.
The Government’s plans are published in a document entitled ‘Enforcing the Deal’, available on the UKBA website.
The UKBA will step up efforts to target the removal from the UK of the most harmful people first.
A series of new measures will be implemented including; automatic deportation for serious offenders, over 1,000 extra immigration staff focused on enforcement duties, action against employers who break the law and new partnerships with local authorities and enforcement agencies to shut down the privileges of the UK to those breaking the rules.
Launching ‘Enforcing the Deal’, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
“When newcomers come here they enter into a deal with the UK – to work hard, play by the rules and earn their right to stay.
“To ensure that deal is delivered we have already increased resources by putting 1,000 additional immigration staff on enforcement duties and are on-track to double our enforcement resources by 2009/10, and deliver Immigration Crime Partnerships in every part of the UK.
“Central to this plan will also be the creation of Local Immigration Teams, bringing our staff closer to the communities we serve. They will have the local knowledge to tackle a community’s specific needs – tracking down illegal migrants, targeting those companies that flout the rules, or gathering intelligence by working with a range of local agencies.
“The UK’s immigration system is undergoing the biggest shake-up for a generation, and these changes will ensure our frontline officers can continue to implement these reforms, and meet the tough targets we have set the UK Border Agency.”
Local teams will enforce immigration laws, concentrate on “intelligence gathering, the disruption of illegal activity, tracking down and detaining immigration offenders and failed asylum seekers, and tackling illegal working”.
The new teams will work closely with police, Revenue and Customs, and local partner agencies.
Staff in Birmingham, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool and Sheffield will also fingerprint foreign nationals applying for their ID cards from November this year.
A new partnership with the fraud prevention body CIFAS was also announced, subject to Parliamentary approval. Names and addresses of foreign nationals of interest to the agency – those who have been removed from the UK and who have been convicted of immigration offences – will be shared through the CIFAS database with over 270 financial service, telecoms and utility companies, to assist in tackling fraud.
Employers will also be able to speak to UKBA local teams for advice on employing migrant labour and preventing the hiring of illegal workers.
Companies which break the rules and employ those without the right to work face huge fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker – from today those businesses hit with fines will be named on this website.
The Home office has sent out a clear message that newcomers will “play by the rules, or face the consequences”.
Priorities for the new initiative include:
removal of those with no right to be here
targeting the most harmful – more than 5,000 foreign national prisoners will be removed by the end of 2008
holding individuals, businesses, colleges, organisations and facilitators who break UK laws to account
to have in place Immigration Crime Partnerships across the UK by March 2009;
to deliver a Border Intelligence Service by October 2008
fingerprinting foreign nationals for ID cards starting from November 2008 to help deny the privileges of the UK to those who break the rules
Welcoming the announcement Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police and ACPO lead for immigration Grahame Maxwell said:
“The report published today is a positive step forward. Tackling immigration crime requires close working between police forces, the UK Border Agency and other local partners. The arrangements set out today should strengthen that approach. We welcome particularly the commitment to respond to every police request when dealing with immigration offenders.
“The police will continue to work closely with the UK Border Agency to achieve our ambition in combating organised immigration crime and to create a hostile environment for those who commit these offences.”
The Government currently removes an illegal immigrant every eight minutes.
With 5,000 operations to identify and penalise organisations targeted to be carried out in 2008/9, employers can expect more visits from Immigration Officers and should ensure that their files for overseas workers are in order.
The UKBA has published a list of employers recently fines for illegal employment.