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Illegal Migrants Could Face a Jail Sentence

Measures to be introduced under the new Immigration Bill will include the possibility of a jail sentence for migrants working illegally in the UK, the Government has announced.

The Immigration Bill, due to be introduced this autumn, will include a range of new powers to deter people from trying to find work here illegally and measures to deal more effectively with rogue businesses who offer them employment.

A new offence of illegal working will allow wages to be seized as proceeds of crime. Anyone prosecuted for this new offence will face a sentence of up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.

Using illegal labour exploits workers, denies work to UK citizens and legal migrants and drives down wages, says the Government. New powers in the Bill will make it easier to prosecute an employer who knows, or reasonably suspects, that the person they employ has no permission to work in the UK.

The existing evidence requirement to prove this offence will be changed in order to boost prosecutions, and the current maximum sentence will be increased from two to five years. These powers will operate alongside the existing system of heavy financial penalties.

Any employer who continues to flout the law and evade sanctions could see their business closed for up to 48 hours while they prove right to work checks have been conducted on staff. The worst offenders would then be placed under special measures as directed by the court, which could lead to continued closure and compliance checks.

Further new powers will also mean any pub, off-licence or late night takeaway that fails to comply with immigration laws or employs illegal workers could be stripped of their licence to operate. Consideration is apparently also being given to extending these powers to cover minicab drivers and operators.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

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