Immigrant worker numbers drop to lowest level since 2004
Ahead of the introduction of a new points-based immigration system for skilled migrant workers, the Home Office has announced that the number of applications to work in the UK has dropped to its lowest number since the EU expanded in 2004 – whilst the number of businesses fined for employing illegal workers now stands at more than 500.
This year the Government has introduced a tough new Australian-style Points Based System to “allow only the workers Britain needs” and civil penalties targeting those employing illegal workers. Since February, when the new measures were introduced, 540 businesses have been issued with fines worth over £5.4m pounds. From November the crackdown on illegal workers steps up again, with measures brought in so that businesses wanting to employ skilled foreign workers from outside Europe and sponsor their entry to the UK must apply for a licence.
UK Border Agency (UKBA) Chief Executive Lin Homer said: “Our message to businesses is loud and clear – if you want to employ foreign workers from outside the EEA, you need to apply now for a sponsor licence. Business benefits from migrant labour but must join us in helping crack down on illegal working and ensure a system which is both firm and fair.”
Any business must register with the UKBA as a sponsor before they can bring foreign workers from outside the EEA into the UK to work and, as a condition of keeping their licence, sponsors will need to alert the UKBA if migrants do not comply with their immigration conditions – for example if they disappear or do not turn up for their job or course.