Illegal working: target employers, not migrants says Parasol
Professional umbrella employer Parasol said the authorities should target rogue employers rather than vulnerable migrant workers.
David Cameron said in speech that the wages of illegal workers should be treated as proceeds of crime, with police being granted powers of seizure.
The prime minister claims it is too easy for migrants to exploit loopholes, and announced the government’s intention to make illegal working a criminal offence.
Parasol managing director Derek Kelly claimed the government was “going after the wrong people” by targeting illegal workers instead of the companies that employ them.
He said, “These new measures will do nothing to deter the rogue employers that exploit vulnerable workers. Depriving illegal migrants of their wages feels like a gimmick.
“I believe directors of companies that hire illegal workers should face the threat of a jail term or having their personal assets seized. Only then will a genuine deterrent have been created.
“There is also the question of how, on a practical level, police will be able to track and seize the wages of illegal workers. As everyone knows, payments in these cases are often made on a cash-in-hand basis and with no audit trail.”
Parasol discovered through a recent Freedom of Information Act request that British companies found to be employing illegal migrant workers were fined more than £24.6m in 2014 – a 75% increase on the £14.1m recouped the previous year.
The increase came after the maximum civil penalty for employers was doubled from £10,000 to £20,000 per illegal worker in May 2014.
Meanwhile the number of civil penalties issued rose from 1,822 in 2013 to 2,262 last year – an increase of 24%.