The Home Office has announced that fines for those who employ or shelter illegal immigrants will be significantly increased in an effort to deter small boat arrivals.
The government announced on Monday that it was tripling the sanctions for employers and landlords who employ or rent to illegal migrants, which Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said would “make it more difficult for illegal migrants to work and operate in the United Kingdom.”
“Unscrupulous landlords and employers who allow illegal working and renting enable the business model of the evil people smugglers to continue,” he continued.
“There is no justification for failing to conduct the necessary checks, and those in violation will now face significantly harsher penalties.”
Beginning in early 2024, the maximum employer sanction will increase from £15,000 to £45,000. For repeated violations, the fines will increase from £20,000 to £60,000.
Official data reveals that 329 fines totaling £5.8m were issued to employers of illegal migrants between October and December of last year and that over 4,000 fines totaling £74m have been issued since 2018.
Fines for landlords will also be considerably increased, with the penalty per lodger increasing from £80 to £5,000 and the penalty per occupant increasing from £1,000 to £10,000.
Repeat offenders may incur penalties of up to £10,000 per occupant and £20,000 per lodger.
Employing illegal migrants, according to the Home Office, “undercuts honest employers, puts vulnerable people at risk of exploitation, cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment, and defrauds the public purse”
It was also stated that all employers and landlords should perform background checks on the individuals they employ and house and that these online checks only took five minutes.
One of the five commitments made by the Prime Minister is for the government to substantially reduce the number of small boat arrivals by the end of 2023.
Rishi Sunak stated in January that the government would “pass new laws to stop small boats” but did not guarantee that the number would be reduced to zero.
Later in his speech outlining his five pledges, he stated that by the end of 2023, the government would “define a concrete plan to stop the boats.”
Over the weekend, both Mr. Jenrick and the Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, refused to affirm whether the pledge included a ban on all small boat crossings.
“It is a very explicit and deliberate promise. “The public wants us to stop the boats, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Mr. Jenrick said on Sunday to Times Radio.
The government’s efforts to reduce illicit migration have been met with significant opposition, including its Rwanda plan, which was blocked by the Supreme Court, and its plans to house migrants on barges.