The home secretary is also pushing for more stronger enforcement of existing rules to contain illegal Channel crossings
By: Chandrashekar Bhat
Home secretary Suella Braverman is considering strengthening legislation to further deter companies from employing illegal migrants, a media report said as Britain grapples with a wave of asylum seekers crossing the English Channel dangerously.
Under the existing laws, employers hiring illegal migrants can be jailed for five years and fined unlimited amounts.
Braverman was examining if heftier fines and longer jail terms could help the country stem the flow of migrants illegally reaching its shores, a Telegraph report said.
She is also pushing for stricter enforcement of existing rules in the wake of the revelation that the number of fines being issued for breaches has come down sharply from 837 in the first quarter of 2016 to 152 in the first three months of 2022.
Official figures showed that more than 33,500 migrants have crossed the Channel in small boats this year, half of them coming from Afghanistan, Albania and Iran.
According to France, the UK’s “soft touch” image is working as a pull factor that has brought tens of thousands of illegal migrants to the island nation.
The Home Office’s most recent estimate put the number of illegal migrants living in the UK between 310,000 and 570,000 in 2001 and the figures have not been reviewed since 2005.
However, a Pew Research Center report which came later said the number could be as high as 1.3 million.
At the recent annual Conservative conference, Braverman, whose parents emigrated to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s, vowed to redouble the UK’s border control efforts.
It would not be bigotry to “say that we have too many asylum seekers who are abusing the system,” she said at the event.
For the past 12 years, Conservative governments have been promising to significantly reduce the number of migrants, but success has evaded them.
Braverman’s predecessor Priti Patel came up with plans earlier this year to relocate asylum seekers arriving in Britain to Rwanda but they were halted following intervention by the European Court of Human Rights.