Home secretary John Reid announces government plans for tougher sanctions over employing illegal staff

Companies employing illegal workers face tougher sanctions under new government plans announced by home secretary John Reid.

A new cross-government enforcement strategy will allow the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) to progressively deny work, benefits and services to those who are here illegally by working in partnership with tax authorities, benefits agencies, government departments, local authorities, police and the private sector.

Measures include:

  • Regional partnerships with workplace enforcement teams from HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Trade and Industry, to track down and punish unscrupulous bosses who exploit the system 
  • The creation of immigration crime partnerships to detect those here illegally and block benefits
  • The creation of a watch list of illegal migrants that can be provided to other government departments and agencies to deny access to services
  • Pilots in three NHS trusts designed to test how IND data can help ensure overseas visitors not entitled to free access pay for healthcare
  • Ensuring individuals do not overstay their visas by texting reminders to their mobile phones – a three-month pilot will begin in April 2007.

Reid said: “Most people who come to this country wish to comply fully with our immigration laws, but where they don’t, we are committed to blocking the benefits and privileges that should only be enjoyed by those here legitimately.

“That’s why the time is now right to tackle the root cause of the problem – exploitation. We have to tackle not only the illegal trafficking, but also the illegal jobs at the end of the journey. Introducing biometric ID cards, starting with newly arrived foreign nationals, will make it easier to ensure fair access to services and stamp out fraud and abuse.”

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