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Immigration Bill

Part of Bills Presented – in the House of Commons at 2:06 pm on 13th October 2015.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:06 pm, 13th October 2015

The defences that we have written into the Modern Slavery Act will still apply. Indeed, there are other areas where, if we take action in relation to abuse of certain parts of the system, that defence and that issue of trafficking will continue to apply. I spoke last week of using the so-called Spanish protocol. For example, if someone comes to the United Kingdom from another European Union country and tries to claim asylum, the claim would initially be determined as inadmissible, but if there were evidence that someone had been trafficked, we would look again at the issue. Certainly, we will continue to have defences for those who have been trafficked.

I was talking about the establishment of the new director of labour market enforcement and the consultation document we have issued today. Once we have considered the responses to that consultation, we will strengthen the Bill further.

The Bill will also allow us to make illegal working a criminal offence. That will not only make Britain a less attractive place for people to come and work illegally, but will provide a firmer legal foundation for seizing earnings from illegal working as the proceeds of crime. Most employers obey the law, but we believe that a number of employers are deliberately turning a blind eye and not checking whether their employees have the right to work in the UK. That is not acceptable, so we will introduce tougher sanctions for these employers and make it easier to bring criminal prosecutions against them. We also know that a significant proportion of illegal working happens on licensed premises. Measures in the Bill will ensure that those working illegally or employing illegal workers cannot obtain licences to sell alcohol or run late-night takeaway premises. Immigration officers will also have new powers to close businesses where illegal working continues to take place.