UK increases fines for those supporting illegal migrants

The crackdown on illegal migration is one of the top priorities of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government ahead of 2024’s general elections.

Yasmin Tinwala

The UK government announced its decision to impose higher fines on employers and landlords who support illegal migrants by hiring or renting out their properties to them. The increase in civil penalties which are the biggest since 2014, was announced by the Home Secretary of the UK, Syells Braverman.

A​s per the new rules which come into effect from the beginning of 2024, the fine for employers the first breach has been raised to £45,000 (US $57,156) from £15,000 (​US $19,054). Repeat offenders will now be required to pay £60,000 (US $76,215), up from £20,000 (US $25,405).

In 2014, homeowners found providing shelter to illegal migrants were charged £80 ​(​US $101) per lodger and £1,000 (​US $1,270) per occupier for a first breach, and £500 (​US $634) per lodger, and £3,000 (​US $3,809) per occupier for repeat breaches. The new fines have been raised to £5,000 (​US $6,348) and £10,000 (​US $12,696) per lodger and occupier respectively for a single breach. Repeat breachers will be charged £10,000 (US $12,696) per lodger and £20,000 (US $25,395) per occupier, as per a government release.

​The UK government has collected almost 5,000 civil penalties issued to employers, since the start of 2018, with a total value of £88.4m ​(​US $112,241,038). Landlords have been hit with over 320 civil penalties worth a total of £215,500 (​US $273,619).

In ​June, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak joined the Home Office enforcement officials for a raid as part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal migration. 105 foreign nationals from across 20 nationalities were arrested during the same. ​As per the UK Home Office, Indians are the second largest group to enter the country illegally on boats. According to data, 675 Indian nationals entered the country by small boat between January to March 2023, as per a media report.

Sunak has made addressing illegal migration one of h​is government’s top priorities ahead of the general elections of 2024. The new illegal migration bill, passed by the UK parliament, allows the government to deny asylum to those who could not obtain a UK visa. These people will then be deported to their country of origin or to a third country deemed safe. ​

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