Clause 8 - Offence of illegal working

Part of Immigration Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 27th October 2015.

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Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration) 4:00 pm, 27th October 2015

The hon. and learned Gentleman, perhaps understandably, given his perspective, is fastening on to this issue without looking at the broader context that I outlined. We can have a broader discussion about the national referral mechanism—we had such debates during our consideration of the Modern Slavery Act 2015—and elements that inhibit people from coming forward. More direct control is likely, as the hon. Member for Sheffield Central highlighted, because this is a complex arena. A debt bonder may wish to impose a number of different conditions and restrictions may be put in place. That goes to other issues such as confinement and the challenge of removal, rather than the legal issues that we are highlighting today.

I want to develop a point that I started in interventions on the hon. Member for Sheffield Central. Home Office immigration enforcement’s normal response, when it encounters illegal workers with no permission to be here, is to try to remove them from the UK as quickly as possible, which has to be the right approach. Action is also taken against non-compliant employers in the form of civil penalties or prosecution. We will come on to that in the next clause, although a strict liability approach is taken against employers under the civil penalty arrangements, so the prosecution element is added to that. That remains the right approach.