Employers must check that their employees have a UK Visa, or they face fines up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
31 December 2010
UK immigration continues North West clamp down
Fines with a total value of more than £585,000 were handed out in Manchester this year to business employing illegal workers, and the UK Border Agency warns that further raids will occur.
Manchester had the highest total value of fines, with 76 penalties, followed closely by 63 civil penalties in Lancashire worth a total value of more than £580,000.
There were also 24 civil penalties issued in Cheshire, worth more than £210,000, and 5 civil penalties in Cumbria, with a total value of more than £61,000.
UK Immigration officers will continue to crackdown on illegal working in north-west England into the New Year and employers have been warned that it is their responsibility to check their employers have a UK Visa or the right to work in the UK.
Eddy Montgomery, UK Border Agency operations director in the North West, said: 'We now have the power to hand out big fines to employers who use illegal labour, and those who do so knowingly could even end up in prison.
“We are happy to work with businesses to ensure they know what checks they should carry out on staff - there is plenty of information on our website, and we have a dedicated phone helpline.
“But we get information all the time on illegal working, and those who do break the law need to know that we are out there looking for them and they will face action,” he said.
Penalties for businesses that fail to carry out the proper checks when employing migrant workers from outside Europe were introduced in February 2008, allowing fines of up to £10,000 per illegal employee.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their UK Visa applications to the British Embassy.