UK Government announces crack down on unscrupulous employers
Employers who exploit illegal workers will face tougher enforcement action and stronger penalties as part of a plan to reduce illegal trafficking of workers and to ensure the economy “delivers for hard-working people”.
Under the new rules, the maximum penalty for employing illegal workers will be doubled to £20,000, while the maximum fine for employers paying below the National Minimum Wage will also be increased from £5,000 to £20,000. Furthermore, maximum penalties of up to £20,000 will be applied for each individual worker employers have underpaid.
Additionally, the government will aim to ensure those gangmasters who orchestrate forced servitude of workers, often trafficked to the UK under false pretences, are caught and penalised with tough sentences to match the severity of the crime, including life imprisonment.
In order to enforce these tough new rules, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) was given new powers, as it became an integral part of the Home Office, which means that it will be able to use the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) considerable resources to tackle the highest harm offenders.
Furthermore, the GLA will have expert support from the NCA’s intelligence hub and will also be able to tap into the resources and reach of the NCA’s 4,500 officers and its international presence in 40 countries, through national tasking and co-ordination mechanisms.
Prime Minister David Cameron commented:
“A key part of our long-term plan is making sure our economy delivers for people who do the right thing, so everyone who wants to work hard can get on in life.”
The changes we are making today will help stop practices which exploit vulnerable workers and undercut local businesses that play by the rules. They will give workers in Britain a fair crack of the whip when it comes to getting a job themselves. That means more economic security for people across our country” he concluded.