UK immigration officials focus on illegal workers

29 Dec 2010 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK immigration officials have vowed to continue their work on reducing the number of illegal workers in the country in 2011.

Following on from a number of successful operations in the north-west of England in 2010, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) is set to focus on this region in the New Year.

In Manchester alone a total of 76 fines - known as civil penalties - were issued to businesses for employing illegal workers. The money raised from the civil penalties came to more than £585,000.

Lancashire also saw a high number of fines issues to local firms. There were 63 civil penalties issued in the area, totally more than £580,000.

Eddy Montgomery, UKBA operations director in the north-west, commented on the proceedings: "We now have the power to hand out big fines to employers who use illegal labour, and those who do so knowingly could even end up in prison.

"Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It undercuts legitimate and law-abiding businesses, and takes jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work."

The comments follow a recent raid in Manchester that uncovered three illegal workers. The employees were discovered in Meezan Superstore on Wilmslow Road after UK immigration officers visited the premises to check if the workers had the necessary UK visas.

Two men from Pakistan were found to be in breach of their UK visas and working illegally, while a further failed asylum seeker from Afghanistan was also identified as working illegally.

Civil penalties can constitute a maximum fine of £10,000 for each illegal employee.