A total of 1,152 immigration enforcement visits have taken place across the UK to identify illegal working since 11th December 2022, marking an almost 10% rise on visits completed in the previous 5 weeks.
The increase in enforcement comes as the Home Office establishes the UK’s first cross-government ministerial taskforce on immigration enforcement, which will ensure every available power across government is utilised to support law enforcement activity to identify and reduce illegal migrants in the UK, and ensure only those eligible can work, receive benefits or access public services.
It will examine how to protect access to rented accommodation, bank accounts, healthcare, education, driving licences and public funds to only those eligible. The new enforcement taskforce, chaired by the Immigration Minister, will focus in its first meeting on illegal working and how enforcement activity can be maximised, including the rapidly growing gig economy.
In December, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to tackle illegal working and immigration, including by hiring 200 new Immigration Enforcement staff and restarting data sharing with banks to ensure those here illegally do not have access to bank accounts.
Illegal working causes untold harm to our communities, cheating honest workers of employment, putting vulnerable people at risk, and defrauding the public purse.
Our Immigration Enforcement teams are working round the clock to bring those violating our laws to justice. It’s our priority to crack down on this crime and empower law enforcement to remove illegal migrants.
With support from our new enforcement taskforce, we will go further and faster to prevent the abuse of our laws and borders and crack down on individuals exploiting the generosity of the UK taxpayer.
Since mid-December, immigration enforcement action has included:
- 362 arrests – in this timeframe, 92 illegal working civil penalties were also issued with a value of £1.5 million
- 1,930 police enquiries referred to Immigration Enforcement teams of foreign nationals they arrest for further investigation
- a further 58 arrests for immigration offences, with 28 convictions secured since 13 December
- 151 foreign criminals and immigration offenders being removed on returns charter flights since the Prime Minister’s speech as part of the government’s commitment to remove those with no right to be in the UK
- continued action to prevent illegal and dangerous small boats crossings, with 3 individuals arrested for piloting a small boat across the Channel under section 25 of the Nationality and Borders Act
- 2 pilots of small boats being convicted under section 24 of the Act with aggravating factors