The Home Office confirms that it conducted a record number of visits targeting illegal working in one day, as part of a nationwide operation. During the operation, which took place across the UK, Immigration Enforcement officers arrested 105 foreign nationals found working without the right to do so during 159 illegal working visits.
These arrests took place at commercial premises including:
- car washes,
- nail bars,
- barber shops and
- convenience stores.
Suspects were arrested for offences including illegal working and possession of false documentation, with sums of cash seized at some locations.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attended an early morning visit in Brent, North London, to observe Immigration Enforcement officers at work as part of the day of action.
Illegal working harms our communities, cheats honest workers out of employment and defrauds the public purse as no taxes are paid. As the Prime Minister has set out, we are committed to tackling the abuse of our laws and borders.
We know the prospect of black-market employment is a significant attraction for migrants considering making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK. Operations such as today send a clear message that we will not stand for this.
Of those arrested, over 40 were detained by the Home Office, pending their removal from the UK, with the remaining suspects being released on immigration bail. It is also expected that a number of the arrests will result in voluntary departure from the UK. Offenders of over 20 different nationalities were found to be working without the right to do so in the UK.
The operation builds on the ongoing work by Immigration Enforcement officers to clamp down on illegal working which is a key part of the government’s approach to stopping the boats. This work tackles illegal migration by breaking the business model of criminal gangs who use the offer of black market jobs as one way to draw people to the UK illegally.
In the first quarter of 2023, Immigration Enforcement teams delivered 1,303 enforcement visits, a 57% increase on the same period in 2022, arrests have doubled since the same period.
Director of Enforcement, Compliance and Crime, Eddy Montgomery:
This result demonstrates the dedication and professionalism of our officers to take action against immigration offenders, as well as employers who are not complying with the rules. Our enforcement teams are working around the clock to deter immigration offending and help protect the public.
Working closely with partners and agencies including the police and the National Crime Agency, we are tackling illegal working at every level. It is vital that we not only identify individuals in breach of immigration law but target the people smuggling networks behind this type of criminal activity.
Prove your right to work
To work in the United Kingdom, you need to provide evidence to your employer before they can offer you and you start a job of your right to work.
How you do this depends on your nationality and what kind of permission you have to work in the UK.
For more details see:
Right to Work (R2W) an employers obligation and protection
Employers must check that a job applicant is allowed to work for you in the UK before you employ them and keep copies of any documents or keep records of the online check.
An employer can:
- check the applicant’s right to work online, if they’ve given you their share code, or
- check the applicant’s original documents
Penalties for employing illegal workers
An employer can be penalised if they employ someone who does not have the right to work and they did not do the correct checks properly.
The civil penalty (fine) is up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.