Anyone caught harbouring illegal migrants will be fined tens of thousands of pounds, under new Government plans.
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick said the Government must clamp down on attractive pull factors to prevent the UK being seen as a “soft touch”.
People smugglers will often promise migrants jobs and housing if they pay them thousands of pounds to risk their lives and cross the English channel in flimsy dinghies.
Mr Jenrick declared last night: “Making it harder for illegal migrants to work and operate in the UK is vital to deterring dangerous, unnecessary 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.”
Employers face fines of up to £45,000 for every illegal migrant they help – triple the previous amount of £15,000.
Bosses who have been caught harbouring illegal migrants before could be hit with a £60,000 penalty for every worker who does not have the right to remain in the UK.
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The fines for allowing illegal migrants to rent homes will also rocket, the Home Office confirmed last night.
Landlords will be fined £5,000 for every lodger and £10,000 for every occupier of a property. This will double for any repeat offenders.
It was previously £80 per lodger and £1,000 for every occupier.
The Home Office last night revealed 4,000 employers have been hit with civil penalties since 2018.
But only 230 landlords have been fined for allowing illegal migrants to rent homes from them over the same five year period.
Officials stated: “Increasing fines will deter employers and landlords from engaging in these illegal and dangerous practices, further deterring people from attempting to come to the UK illegally.”
Mr Jenrick told GB News: “We are [reducing the pull factors].
“That’s exactly the work I have been doing over the last six months with Suella Braverman. We have changed the accommodation people are staying in.
“The Labour Party say they don’t like us using disused military sites and barges. My post bag from Labour MPs is claiming the accommodation is not luxurious enough.
“I think we have to make sure the UK is not perceived to be a soft touch.
“The overwhelming majority of the people coming in small boats are coming from France, from a safe country with a well functioning asylum system.
“They are choosing to come to the UK and that must be in part because of the perception that the UK is a softer touch.
“That is why we are changing accommodation. That is why we are making it harder to live and work illegally in the UK with a 50 per cent rise in the number of raids this year to try and close down bogus employers.”
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The Immigration minister also yesterday confirmed the Government will press ahead with plans to house asylum seekers on cruise ships.
The first migrants are expected to arrive on the Bibby Stockholm asylum barge today after a series of delays.
But Home Secretary Suella Braverman was dealt a blow as two ports refused permission for two cruise ships to berth and house asylum seekers.
Mr Jenrick admitted: “We’re in conversation with a number of other ports and hoping that we can secure those very soon.
“It’s true that a couple of ports did back out, mostly because local Labour councils like in Birkenhead and in Leith in Edinburgh refused to support us, hypocritically actually if you look at the Leith example.
“That’s a Labour council that housed Ukrainian refugees on the same barge, same boat, but refused to house asylum seekers, all the time saying that they are a city of sanctuary.”
Some 15,121 migrants have crossed the English Channel this year. But ministers and Border Force are braced for a surge in crossings as the weather improves this week.
Friday’s arrivals were the first since July 26 amid wind and rain in the Channel.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman yesterday admitted that it is “going to be a tough Summer” as the weather improves.
Mrs Braverman said: “I look closely at what the incoming flows are like, and we still have too many people coming across the Channel. We still need to honour our pledge to the British people to stop the boats.”
But the Home Secretary refused to say whether the Government will stop the boats before the next election.
She said: “‘I want to stop the boats – it’s our promise and I know it’s absolutely critical.
“I know it’s what the British people really want us to do. They’re on our side.
“I know that Labour do not want to stop the boats – that is absolutely clear. They have no plan. They’re on the side of the con men, of the criminals, and of the people smugglers – they’re not on the side of the British people.”
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