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UK Government Announces Tripling of Fines for Those Supporting Illegal Migrants- Reaching Up to £60K Per Worker

18 January 2024

In a significant move to curb illegal immigration, the United Kingdom government recently announced a groundbreaking policy aimed at tackling the issue from a different angle. The focus is not only on those attempting to enter the country illegally but also on individuals or entities providing support to illegal migrants. The government has declared a tripling of fines for those found guilty of aiding and abetting illegal migrants, emphasising the importance of cooperation from all segments of society in maintaining border security.

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Details of the policy

The new policy involves a substantial increase in fines for individuals or businesses found to be supporting illegal migrants. The fines, previously set at a certain level, will now be tripled to serve as a deterrent for those engaging in activities that aid illegal migration. The government believes that this approach will discourage individuals and entities from providing financial, logistical, or other forms of support to those attempting to enter the country unlawfully.

The civil penalty for employers, which was last increased in 2014, will be raised to up to £45,000 per illegal worker for a first breach from £15,000, and up to £60,000 for repeat breaches from £20,000.

For landlords the fines will increase from £80 per lodger and £1,000 per occupier for a first breach to up to £5,000 per lodger and £10,000 per occupier. Repeat breaches will be up to £10,000 per lodger and £20,000 per occupier, up from £500 and £3,000 respectively. The higher penalties came in at the start of 2024.

Later this year the Home Office will consult on options to strengthen action against licensed businesses who are employing illegal workers.

Since the start of 2018, almost 5,000 civil penalties have been issued to employers with a total value of £88.4m. Meanwhile, landlords have been hit with over 320 civil penalties worth a total of £215,500 in the same period.

The decision to triple fines reflects the government's commitment to creating a hostile environment for illegal immigration. By targeting the support network for illegal migrants, authorities aim to disrupt the facilitation of their entry into the country. This multifaceted approach is intended to complement existing border control measures and make the entire system more robust and effective.

Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick said:

"Making it harder for illegal migrants to work and operate in the UK is vital to deterring dangerous, unnecessary small boat crossings. Unscrupulous landlords and employers who allow illegal working and renting enable the business model of the evil people smugglers to continue. There is no excuse for not conducting the appropriate checks and those in breach will now face significantly tougher penalties."

Impact on Individuals and Businesses

The increased fines will have far reaching consequences for individuals and businesses involved in activities that support illegal migration. This includes landlords, employers, and anyone providing financial assistance to illegal migrants. The policy underscores the shared responsibility of all members of society in upholding the integrity of the immigration system. The government believes that this approach will encourage greater vigilance and cooperation among citizens and businesses to prevent the exploitation of the immigration system.

The Challenges

While the government's move is applauded for its intent to strengthen immigration controls, some concerns have been raised about potential unintended consequences. Critics argue that the policy may inadvertently discourage individuals from offering humanitarian assistance to those in need, as they fear legal repercussions. Striking the right balance between preventing illegal migration and ensuring that legitimate humanitarian efforts are not stifled will be crucial for the success of this policy.

The Bottom Line

The UK government's decision to triple fines for those supporting illegal migrants marks a bold step towards addressing the complex issue of illegal immigration. By targeting the support network that enables illegal entry, the government aims to create a more secure and resilient immigration system. As the policy comes into effect, its impact on individuals, businesses, and the overall immigration landscape will be closely monitored, with a focus on achieving a balance that promotes both security and compassion.



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