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New Offence of Driving While Unlawfully in the UK

The Government has announced that its Immigration Bill will contain a new offence of driving while unlawfully in the UK. Anyone convicted will face a sentence of up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine in England and Wales.

Anyone arrested for the new offence could have their car impounded and, if convicted, forfeited. Immigration Enforcement officers will have new powers to search individuals and properties and seize driving licences if they suspect someone to be here illegally.

The Government says that the provisions in its new Bill to tackle illegal immigration have three main themes:

  • new measures cracking down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers, increasing the punishments for employing illegal migrants, and strengthening sanctions for working illegally,
  • building on the Immigration Act 2014 to ensure that only people living lawfully in the UK can have access to UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodation, and
  • increasing powers to make it easier to remove people who have no right to be in the UK.

The Immigration Act of 2014 made it harder for people to live in the UK illegally by restricting access to public services and benefits. It also introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge to ensure that migrants contribute towards the cost of the National Health Service.

The Government says that its new Bill builds on this to reduce the ‘pull’ factors that draw illegal migrants to Britain. It includes a range of new powers to:

  • tackle illegal employment, including a new offence of illegal working,
  • stop providing support to migrants who do not return home once all claims to asylum have failed,
  • strengthen border security,
  • ensure all public employees in customer-facing roles speak good English,
  • electronically tag those on immigration bail,
  • create a new role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement, and
  • impose a new skills levy on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country.

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

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