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UK Border Agency taking tough line on illegal working but employers are still confused | Immigration Matters

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The UK Border Agency is taking a much tougher line against employers who fall foul of the law on employing migrant workers.

Each week the UK Border Agency publishes reports of dawn raids and arrests of illegal workers in takeaways, restaurants, factories and care homes.

Speaking about a successful border agency raid this week, Immigration Minister Damian Green said:

‘These operations are among many being carried out across the country following the success of a major crackdown on immigration crime during the summer, which generated a large number of arrests, cash seizures and prosecutions as well as fresh intelligence.

‘Illegal immigration puts huge pressure on the public purse at a time when the country can least afford it. Together with the police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency we will continue to make life as difficult as possible for those who cheat the immigration system.’

Despite the threat of £10,000 fines and a widely publicised information campaign, many employers are slipping up because there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the whole area of employing foreign nationals and even EU workers.

For instance a common assumption is that all members of the European Union have the same rights. Wrong. Not all EU members have the right to freely work in the UK.

As members of the European Union, Bulgarians have visa-free access to the UK, however, like Romanians, they do not enjoy the same treaty rights to work as the earlier A8 Eastern European EU accession countries such as Poland and Latvia.

Employers cannot employ a Romanian or Bulgarian worker in the same way they can a Polish or other A8 accession country citizen.

Many Romanians and Bulgarians register as self employed and start businesses, which is allowed, or work and study on a Yellow Card Visa. Romanian and Bulgarian Students taking vocational or sandwich courses, such as NVQ in Health and Social Care, are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards.

Other issues which cause confusion are overseas workers on student visas and dependants of Tier 4 students and Tier 2 working visa holders.

The UK Border Agency recently published newly updated summary guidance to help employers understand the law on illegal working and what steps they must take to comply.

The shorter summary guidance includes a quick reference tool and lists document checks that employers should undertake. The summary version must be read in conjunction with the government’s full comprehensive guidance for employers on preventing illegal working, which was updated on 2 November.

Employers can download both updated documents from the Preventing illegal working – guidance documents for employers page on the UK Border Agency’s website.

For general enquiries regarding illegal working, employers can also contact the sponsorship and employers’ helpline.

If in doubt, pick up the phone or seek legal advice from a professional who can audit your files, as mistakes can be costly. 

Employers can be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker.

See also:

UK Border Agency change employer guidance on preventing illegal working

UK Border Agency raid two Sussex care homes

European Union propose more control over UK law system, report says

UKBA publish new application form and guidance for UK naturalisation

Bulgarian couple arrested in France for people smuggling

Immigration cap already in place – for Care Workers

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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42 Responses to “UK Border Agency taking tough line on illegal working but employers are still confused”
Read them below or add one

  1. Saira Yousef says :

    UKBA does nothing the new trend is pakistani students are now marrying back in pakistan and coming here on student visas and living with relatives. That way they don’t have to pay rent or bills. The husband works illegally full time and then gets his wife pregnant so they can apply for settlement based on having a british born child. So sick and tired of this government allowing more and more people to come here and they get everything for free whilst we have to struggle and pay taxes.

  2. ilaria bellissimo says :

    to whom it may concern,
    I have some concern about a woman .
    I would like to get a contact number to speak to someone about the issue.
    Thank you

  3. i will like to report illegal worker UK

  4. It’s the UKBA not MI5! If you give them a full address they might be able to ‘track him down’, otherwise they are busy with the rest of the 700,000 overstayers.

  5. Jade Heirs says :

    he is on a student visa but is not studying and he’s working full time

  6. Jade Heirs says :

    hello i recently sent an email about an illegal worker and gave the UKBA all his details but he recently moved to London. is there any way the UKBA can still track him down? He used to be in Dunfermline, Scotland.

  7. See UKBA website/Crimestoppers number

  8. hello can you provide me a phone number were i can give some informaiton about some arab working illegal thnk you

  9. No Mame ? says :

    Just a general comments:- UKBA needs to stop at source for illegal immigrants.Most people/family either illegal or pending application can claim benefit without any problem or question asked.Families with kids manage to put their kids on school even on visit visas.Illegal people applying for Sec.8 with long years work and claiming to have paid full tax – UKBA should check those employer and fine.Action to be taken within week not months – Several TV chanels giving legal advise – If it takes longer makes your case stronger(every day adds to your family life here) !!!!!!!- If you like the Queen,you can make an application on the basis of Sec.8 ????????????

  10. if you wana catch a few more aliens pls contact me asap before they leave and set up somwere else even they are such ungrateful people they only been here two mins and they think theyve been here 4ever they eat a pizza and they think they got a british pass the goverment need to step up there game coz these aliens come here and have no plan to return to were they really come from pls someone tell me a web site were ukba do something about this coz it seems to me that they dont bother till somthin serious happens pls stop bringing these aliens in our country

  11. Ravinder singh says :

    I want to report ukba about a students who is living and working in uk illegally and teasing me hour ,I inform ukba I don’t want to show my name please tell me I am very worried plz tell me fast way.I want to report another many permeant people ready to the illegally doucoments given the students ,plz send me email address so that I can write all details of students,anoter people,I have lot of informations,thanks

  12. Matida Diatta says :

    I have notice someone is using my details for work purpose illegal, i have been able to contact the employer but nothing has been done…what should i do?

  13. the uk border force do nothing, i have filled in the illegal reporting form years ago ,they do nothing. the best thing is to do is find a policeman and alert him to the that person. the should check out that persons uk status.

  14. Use the online system – you will never get through. Could try local police.

  15. hi can you give me contect number i want to report someone who work here iiligal

  16. shahid_afridi194 says :

    hi ukba i want to mail illegal pics how can i mail to ukba please give me the tips reply me as soon as possible

  17. shahid_afridi194 says :

    hi ukba can i complaints on this site abt illegal workers

  18. please, please ,please,,, can you not help me ,,,
    why this people coming here and they are working illegal.
    I need to call and to report,, there are people who i know where are they and what they working jut need more help for uk border agency

  19. R.rohim says :

    Hi, plz i need ur help i have someone who lives with me who is international tier 4 student who is allowed to wrk 20 hrs but he work 40 hrs in a restaurant gets cash in hand and has also agreed with the employer that if there is ever a immigration raid they will both agree that the student wrks 20 hours, i think it is so wrong and people like this dnt deserve being in this country , so is there any chance that he could get caught? I really doubt it cuz his employer is in it as well, he is waiting for a cisa extension decision at the moment, plz help he has been doing this for the past 2 years cant take it no more


    Report immigration crime or smuggling


    This page explains how you can report suspected immigration crime (such as illegal immigration or illegally employing foreign workers), smuggling or terrorism.

    We take public reports of crime seriously. If you suspect that someone is working illegally, has no right to be in the UK or is involved in smuggling, we want to hear from you.

    Reporting crime online
    You can report your suspicions in confidence using our reporting form.

    Please complete as much of the form as you can. But do not worry if you cannot answer all of the questions – and do not put yourself in danger by trying to discover more information.

    Any information that you provide will be handled in confidence. You can give us your name and address if you wish, but you do not need to do so.

    Other reporting methods
    Alternatively, you can:

    contact Crimestoppers (online or by phone) anonymouslycall the Customs Hotline about smuggling on 0800 595 000
    contact the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or online dial 999 in an emergency

  21. M Rahman says :

    Hiya I knw some illegal propel there working n doin crime aswel so Plz give me a contact nubmer I wanna help the UKB

  22. Sarika Shrestha says :

    Hi, I have seen one of my mate is student but she never goes to college for study. She works two place as well. one place she work 30 hours in cash in hand and another place 20 hours where i work. so Where to complain about there if i get such address to complain about them. I have her husband passport number as well. they both husband and wife are working in same company. did company will caught recruting such student as well.

    I hope to get such address to report such illegal student.


  23. jessica says :

    Hello. I need to report two Indian girls working more than 20 hours a week on a stuent visa.

  24. dear sir/madam
    student name is mudassar umar studying in oxford college london is criminal in pakistan.he dnt have working hours but he is working there.i report his college but no rsponse from college.he gave fake skype interview to college.he also done fraud with me and some other people in pakistan.he is criminal mind person.plz take action against him.i have got his details if u need i can send u…for more information u can contact wuth me any time by email or phone

  25. rashid butt says :

    hi i just want to report some student who working illegaly. some of paying money to europien girls and getting marriege for stay in uk, will you plz send me eamil back and i give you all information. thanks , looking forward to you. bye.

  26. hi ya
    i just wann report some students who working illegaly .they working in 2 ,3 places.and they siting in 2 bedroom flat 8 peoples can i contact to report all this thgs me ???plz send me email address so that i can write all details of students..thanks

  27. […] employer clients are so confused by the rules surrounding Tier 2 and Tier 4 Student Visas, and in particular Romanian and Bulgarian workers who despite being EU members do not have the […]

  28. You can check numbers on the HOME OFFICE or UKBA website yourself or try the local Police

    They have a page for ‘Reporting crime or suspicious behaviour’:

    This page explains how you can report suspected immigration crime (such as illegal immigration or illegally employing foreign workers), smuggling or terrorism.

    If you suspect that someone is involved in these crimes, we want to hear from you.

    Your swift action can make the difference between criminals being caught or getting away.

    Information is one of our most effective tools in the fight against crime. Please give us as much detail as you can, such as:

    ■details of the immigration or customs offence that you want to report – including its date, time and location
    ■details of the people involved – their names, work/home addresses, nationalities, passport details and dates of birth (if you know them)
    ■how do you know this information, and why you are telling us about it now
    If transport was used, please also tell us:

    ■the type of vehicle (car, van, lorry, boat or aircraft)
    ■the make and model
    ■the registration number
    ■the name (if it is a boat)
    ■information about its appearance (such as colours and distinguishing features)
    Please do not investigate anything further or put yourself at risk.

    We would like you to give us your contact details, in case we need to speak to you. Please tell us how and when you can conveniently be contacted. Your information will be treated as confidential, and we will not tell the people involved that you have contacted us. However, we will not be able to tell you what action is taken as a result of your information. But you can make an anonymous report on the Crimestoppers website.


    Report illegal immigrants and other immigration offences
    To report immigration crime, you can e-mail us. Please include the name of the town or city where you suspect the crime is happening (for example, Croydon), or the postcode, in the e-mail subject line or title.

    We will pass your message on to our local immigration team in the appropriate part of the country. Where appropriate, they will investigate and take action.


    Report smuggling
    To report smuggling, you can contact our customs hotline.

    Calls are free from landlines in the UK. Calls can be anonymous – you will not need to give your name or personal details.

    Phone: 0800 59 5000


    Report terrorism
    To report any suspicions of terrorism, phone the police’s anti-terror hotline. Text messages from mobile phones are not accepted.

    Alternatively, you can send information about terrorism using the police’s confidential online form.

    Phone: 0800 789 321

    Textphone: 0800 032 4539

    To report immigration crime, you can phone Crimestoppers anonymously.

    Calls from landlines are free. You will not need to give your name or personal details when you call.� For more information or to give information, visit the Crimestoppers website.

    Phone: 0800 555 111

  29. all i want is a phone number to ring up about illegal immigrants working in hastings. and all i get is help lines for them!!!!

  30. […] UK Border Agency taking tough line on illegal working but employers are still confused […]

  31. hi my husband is in uk (Birmingham )on tier 4 student from last month and he want to call a dependent can some one please guide me under the new policy can i still get the visa ? and what docs do i need for it

  32. Daniel Spillane says :

    Are there any solicitors out there who would help me take the ukba to court? my holiday visa applications for my wife and children to come to the uk and visit me have been rejected 3 times now for no good reason, i am british and currently serving in the armed forces, i want to get the visas and i want to sue the border agency.

  33. […] UK Border Agency taking tough line on illegal working but employers are still confused […]

  34. […] UK Border Agency taking tough line on illegal working but employers are still confused […]

  35. Assuming she is here on a student visa she should be in full time study, and can work part time. If she is no longer studying but working full time, she is no longer ‘legal’ in the UK. Are you saying she does not want to bring you here as her dependent?

  36. zulfiqar ali says :

    my wife is legel in the uk she have visa untill october but she stope the college september now she is working still fulltime so i want she come back but she dont want so what you help me

  37. […] major sources of confusion for employers are overseas students and Romanian and Bulgarian EU […]

  38. See UKBA website – which states:

    Report an illegal immigrant or other immigration offence
    If you know that someone is breaking immigration laws (for example, by being in the UK illegally or by employing an illegal immigrant), you can send us information about it by email.

    We may not be able to acknowledge your email message, but we will pass it on to our local immigration team in the appropriate part of the country. Where appropriate, they will investigate and take action.

    To enable us to send your information quickly to the local immigration team closest to the offence you are reporting, please help us by putting the specific place (for example, Croydon) or the postcode (for example, CR0) in the message’s subject line or title. Please also try to give us as much information as possible about the offence, such as names and addresses.

    We treat all personal information as confidential. We will not tell the person involved that you contacted us, but we will not be able to tell you what action is taken as a result of your information.


  39. Hello,

    Can you provide me a phone number where I can give some information about some romanians working illegal ?

    Thank you

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