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Businesses using illegal immigrant face 48-hour closures

22Bangla Mirror desk  ::

Powers for 48-hour shutdowns of businesses suspected of employing illegal workers are to be included in a new immigration bill designed to create a “hostile environment” for undocumented migrants in Britain.
The new package of measures will also include powers to remove the trading licences of late-night takeaways, pubs and off-licences which fail to comply with immigration rules, and a law change making it easier to prosecute businesses that knowingly employ illegal workers.
The details of the measures in this autumn’s immigration bill come as ministers brace for a fresh set of embarrassing migration figures to be published this Thursday.
The last quarterly figures in May showed that net migration had risen to 318,000 by the end of 2014 – its highest level under the coalition government.
This was just short of the 320,000 peak recorded in 2005 under Labour just after Britain’s borders were opened to workers from Poland and other eastern European states.
David Cameron tried to minimise some of the political flak from the last set of migration figures by making a speech on immigration in which he pledged to get tougher with those who have no right to be in Britain.
The prime minister said the new legislation would introduce the offence of illegal working, which could be enforced by confiscating the wages of thoseguilty of it.
The immigration minister, James Brokenshire, outlining the further steps, said: “Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt – if you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car.
“Through our new immigration bill, illegal workers will face the prospect of a prison term and rogue employers could have their businesses closed, have their licences removed, or face prosecution if they continue to flout the law.”
The Home Office said on Tuesday that the new offence would also carry a potential prison sentence of up to six months and an unlimited fine for those working illegally.
The law is to be changed to make it easier to prosecute rogue businesses that deliberately employ illegal workers. The onus is to be put on employers to demonstrate that they took reasonable steps to check the immigration status of new hires.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We will lower the existing evidence requirement to prove this offence in order to boost prosecutions and increase the current maximum sentence from two to five years. These powers will operate alongside the existing system of heavy financial penalties.
“Any employer who continues to flout the law and evade sanctions could see their business closed for up to 48 hours while they prove right-to-work checks have been conducted on staff.
“The worst offenders would then be placed under special measures as directed by the court, which could lead to continued closure and compliance checks.”
Ministers are also considering making minicab drivers and operators subject to new powers to strip trading licences from those who fail to comply with immigration laws.