A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency has found that the UK Border Agency has a largely passive approach towards the Civil Penalties scheme and has been too accommodating towards employers' attempts to reduce penalties.
As part of a wider inspection into the UK Border Agency's operations in the North West of England region, the Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM noted that there was a disparity between the publicised amount of penalties issued by the UK Border Agency and payments actually collected.
Mr Vine said, "During this inspection, I was disappointed to find that reporting of financial information was misleading and lacking in transparency. Additionally, the findings of this report were consistent with my 2009 inspection of the Juxtaposed Controls at Calais and Coquelles. In that civil penalties scheme, I also found that the level of penalties collected was only a fraction of the amount imposed. The UK Border Agency should review the efficiency and effectiveness of both these schemes."
The Independent Chief Inspector's full report "An inspection of the Civil Penalties Compliance Team - Illegal Working" can be viewed at: www.independent.gov.uk/icinspector/news
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Notes to Editors:
1. The Office of the Independent Chief Inspector was created by the UK Borders Act 2007. The appointment of John Vine CBE, QPM was announced in Parliament by the Home Secretary in April 2008. He took up his post in July 2008.
2. The Chief Inspector is independent of the UK Border Agency and is required to report annually to the Secretary of State.
3. The purpose of inspection of the UK Border Agency is to provide assurance to Ministers, Parliament and the public about the safe, proper and effective delivery of the functions of the UK Border Agency.
4. The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 introduced a new system of civil penalties for employers who employ illegal migrant workers. The aim of the legislation was to provide the UK Border Agency with a swift and effective means of tackling employers who fail to meet their obligations in their employment practices, without criminalising those who slip up in operating their recruitment and employment practices.
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