Hundreds of thousands of illegal workers in Britain

A report published by the Home Office today has revealed that hundreds of thousands of immigrants may be working illegally in Britain.

The figure was included in a consultation paper outlining proposals to clamp down on illegal working by asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants. Until now the Government have been reluctant to say how many immigrants they believe are working illegally in the country because of the difficulty in finding accurate numbers.

Laws to impose fines of up to £5,000 for each illegal worker employers are found to have hired without carrying out reasonable checks have been unsuccessful, with only 121 prosecutions since 1996.

The report calls for further changes in the law to tackle the problem. It outlines agriculture, construction, catering, hospitality and food processing as industries where illegal working is prevalent because they rely on causal labour.

‘At their worst these involve people in trafficking, exploitation, unfair competition, dangerous working conditions and fraudulent deception of the Exchequer,’ it says.

Forged documents are highlighted as a major problem and Beverley Hughes, the Immigration and Asylum Minister, is now proposing that employers make extra document checks on prospective workers.