Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Illegal workers' fines uncollected

Immigration Minister Damian Green said the UKBA has collected 10.7 million pounds of the 53.1 million pounds of fines issued since May 2008

Only 20% of fines imposed on employers who hire illegal workers have been paid, leaving tens of millions of pounds uncollected, figures show.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has collected just £10.7 million of the £53.1 million of fines issued since the first penalty was imposed in May 2008, Immigration Minister Damian Green said.

Campaign group Migration Watch UK said the situation was "frankly lamentable" and "another example of successive governments' feeble approach to illegal immigration".

The figures were released in a written answer to Labour MP Frank Field, but do not show how many of the civil penalties have been reduced or cancelled on appeal.

Sir Andrew Green, chairman of Migration Watch, said: "This scheme could be a very useful instrument in the fight against illegal immigration, helping reduce the scope for illegal workers who undercut law abiding businesses and legal workers."

But he added: "It seems that the UKBA is taking the employers' word that they cannot afford to pay or are too ready to agree a reduced figure in the hope of getting at least some of the fine.

"This is another example of successive governments' feeble approach to illegal immigration. To collect just 20% of the available fines is frankly lamentable.

"There must be much more determined collection of fines to send a clear message that those employing illegal workers will suffer financially.

"Otherwise, the job opportunities for British workers will continue to be thoroughly undermined by people from across the world who have no right to be here at all."

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