Sunak joins raid on illegal migrants in UK, 105 arrested
Suspects were arrested for various offenses, including engaging in illegal employment and possessing counterfeit documentation
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks alongside an immigration van at Wembley Police Station on June 15, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Susannah Ireland – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, accompanied UK Home Office enforcement officials on a raid as a part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal migration. The operation resulted in the arrest of 105 foreign nationals representing 20 different nationalities.
Donning a bulletproof vest, Sunak, 43 participated in one of the actions that took place in Brent, north London, earlier in the week. His presence aimed to observe the Immigration Enforcement officers at work as part of their “day of action.”
The prime minister has made cracking down on illegal migration one of his government’s top priorities ahead of a general election, expected next year.
“Illegal working harms our communities, cheats honest workers out of employment and defrauds the public purse as no taxes are paid,” said UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman.
“As the Prime Minister has set out, we are committed to tackling the abuse of our laws and borders. We know the prospect of black-market employment is a significant attraction for migrants considering making dangerous and illegal journeys to the UK.? Operations such as today send a clear message that we will not stand for this,” she said.
Throughout the operation conducted on Thursday (15) across the UK, a total of 105 foreign nationals were apprehended by Immigration Enforcement officers.
These individuals were discovered working without the necessary authorization in 159 raids conducted on suspected establishments engaged in illegal employment. The arrests occurred at various commercial premises, such as restaurants, car washes, nail bars, barber shops, and convenience stores.
Suspects were arrested for various offenses, including engaging in illegal employment and possessing counterfeit documentation. Furthermore, sums of money were confiscated at certain premises during the operation.
Out of the total arrests made, more than 40 individuals were detained by the Home Office, awaiting their removal from the UK. The remaining suspects were released on immigration bail. The Home Office also anticipates that several of the arrests will lead to voluntary departures from the UK.
“This result demonstrates the dedication and professionalism of our officers to take action against immigration offenders, as well as employers who are not complying with the rules.
Our enforcement teams are working around the clock to deter immigration offending and help protect the public,” said Eddy Montgomery, Director of Enforcement, Compliance and Crime at the Home Office.
“Working closely with partners and agencies including the police and the National Crime Agency (NCA), we are tackling illegal work at every level. It is vital that we not only identify individuals in breach of immigration law but target the people smuggling networks behind this type of criminal activity,” he said.
Offenders from more than 20 different nationalities were discovered working in the UK without the appropriate visa rights. However, the specific countries involved have not been disclosed.
The Home Office said that this operation is an extension of the continuous efforts undertaken by Immigration Enforcement officers to combat illegal employment, which forms an integral part of the government’s strategy to address the issue of unauthorized crossings of the English Channel.
The operation is aimed at tackling illegal migration by breaking the business model of criminal gangs who use the offer of black-market jobs as one way to draw people to the UK illegally, officials added.
In the first quarter of 2023, Immigration Enforcement teams claim they delivered 1,303 enforcement visits, a 57 per cent increase on the same period last year. And, since Sunak set out his plan in December last year to “stop the boats” crossing illegally into the UK, arrests are said to have doubled compared to the same period last year.