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Illegal workers could face jail sentence under new law

IMMIGRATION: A new immigration bill will send people to jail if they are working illegally

ILLEGAL WORKERS will face time behind bars under a new immigration bill.

People who work illegally in England and Wales will face up to six months in prison, under proposals to be included in the forthcoming Immigration Bill - which will be introduced in the autumn.

The bill will also contain measures against takeaway restaurants and off-licences which employ illegal migrants.

Penalties will also include an unlimited fine and wages being seized.

Immigration minister James Brokenshire said the government "would continue to crack down on abuse" of the system, the BBC reported.

The government has made a series of immigration announcements over the summer of which this is the latest.

Takeaways and off-licences could lose their licences if they were found to be employing illegal workers.

Officials are also considering whether this provision should be extended to cover minicab drivers and operators.

The BBC reported that the legal defence for other kinds of business discovered using illegal workers will also change.

They will no longer be able to claim they did not know a particular employee was not allowed to work - they will have to show that they carried out proper checks before taking them on.

The maximum sentence for employers found guilty will be raised from two to five years, in addition to the fines already in force.

Brokenshire 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.

"As a one nation government we will continue to crack down on abuse and build an immigration system that works in the best interests of the British people and those who play by the rules."

Alp Mehmet, of Migration Watch UK, which supports tighter immigration controls, said: "This is not just about not being seen as a soft touch.

"More important is for the message to go out that if you are here illegally and caught working, you and your employer will end up in court.

"Let us hope that the authorities will not shy away from acting on the powers they are to be given, since their record on that front has not always been exemplary."

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