UK immigration fine scheme 'lamentable'

14 Mar 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The UK immigration fine scheme, implemented by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has been dubbed lamentable.

According to recent figures, just 20 per cent of the fines issued by the UKBA have been collected.

The agency is able to fine businesses that hire illegal workers up to £10,000 per employee through its Civil Penalty Scheme.

But over the course of the past year, the average amount collected has been just £2,000 per worker.

Chairman of the think tank Migration Watch UK, Sir Andrew Green, said that this is "frankly lamentable".

Sir Green added: "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.

"This is even more important at a time when jobs are so scarce."

The news comes as the UKBA has caught four UK immigration offenders working illegally in two takeaways in Luton without the correct UK work permits or UK visa documentation.

A 36-year-old Pakistani man was discovered working in one of the premises illegally after having overstayed his UK visa.

Meanwhile, three members of staff at the second business, the Al Deen Take Away, were found to be working illegally. Two of the men had overstayed their UK visas, while the third was found to have entered the country illegally.

Melanie Partridge, chief immigration officer at the UKBA, highlighted the fact that the authorities can turn to the Civil Penalty Scheme to impose "serious financial penalties" on businesses that choose to ignore the fact that it is the legal responsibility of all businesses to check their employees have the right to work in the UK.