The UK Borders ACT received the Royal Assent this month. A new UK Border Agency will incorporate the BIA, which has only been in existence for a matter of months, UK Visas, and Customs at ports.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith recently announced tough new measures to “stamp out illegal working” with fines of up to “£10000 for each illegal worker”, just days after it was discovered that illegal immigrants were working in Government offices as security guards.
· An Australian-style points based system to make sure only workers with the skills to benefit Britain’s economy come to the UK
· A single border force bringing together the Border and Immigration Agency, Customs and UKvisas providing a tougher, highly visible policing presence at Britain’s ports and airports
· Compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals allowing us to know who is here and what they are entitled to
With out a trace of irony the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said:
“By stamping out illegal working we are making the UK a less attractive destination for illegal migration.
“The new civil penalties are a more effective way of dealing with employers who use slipshod or exploitative recruitment methods. Together with the introduction of compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals next year, there can be no excuse for not checking the identity of those applying for jobs.
“By working together with employers and others we have developed a system that delivers the migrants the UK needs, but which also keeps out those that it does not.”
The BIA has been busy with regular enforcement operations against illegal working throughout the UK, and migrant workers are regularly being stopped and questioned at underground stations and other public places.
Last month 49 people were arrested in a single raid in Chinatown, while an operation in Gateshead led to ten arrests; and 14 people were arrested after an operation at a restaurant in Ipswich.
In 2006 alone, the Agency carried out over 5,200 illegal working operations and removed more than 22,000 people from the UK.
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