The Home Office has launched an advertising campaign designed to boost awareness of a new £10k fine and two-year prison sentence for every illegal worker negligently hired.
The stark message will be driven home in a new marketing campaign laying out the new rules due to come into effect in February. The government is launching a three-week radio and newspaper campaign starting today on 14 January 2008.
Any employers found to be breaking the law could lose the right to recruit from outside the European Union.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: “Illegal working attracts illegal migrants and undercuts British wages. That’s why we’re determined to shut it down. The message is clear for employers – we will not tolerate illegal working.”
According to Byrne, the advertising campaign will ensure there is “no excuse” for bosses to say they were unaware of the rules, which are being touted as the “biggest shake-up” of the immigration system for 40 years.
The new year also brings a tough Australian-style points-based system for managing immigration; the roll out of Britain’s new e-Borders programme allowing people to be counted in and out of the country; and biometric ID cards for any foreign national in the country for more than three months, tying people to one identity.
In 2006 alone, the Border and Immigration Agency carried out over 5,200 illegal working operations with nearly 64,000 people removed – that’s the equivalent of someone every eight minutes. In the first three quarters of last year, another 45,000 were removed.
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to ensure they don’t employ illegal workers can visit www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk/employingmigrants