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Britain plans to crack down on illegal migrant workers

August 25, 2015

Britain has unveiled tough new measures against illegal migrant workers. The proposals come amid growing anti-immigration rhetoric and as thousands of migrants attempt to reach England from the Channel Tunnel in France.

Frankreich Flüchtlinge am Eurotunnel bei Calais
Image: Reuters/P. Rossignol

Illegal migrants working in England and Wales could face up to six months in prison and have their wages seized under measures announced by the British government on Tuesday.

The proposals come as Britain's government has been stepping up its anti-immigration rhetoric after increased attempts by migrants to reach England from the Channel Tunnel in France.

Natacha Bouchart, mayor of the northern French city of Calais where thousands of migrants are camped out hoping to make the crossing to Britain, previously said that Britain's generous welfare system and lax identity controls are encouraging illegal migration.

"Anyone who thinks the UK is a soft touch should be in no doubt -- if you are here illegally, we will take action to stop you from working, renting a flat, opening a bank account or driving a car," British Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said in a statement.

"We will continue to crack down on abuse and build an immigration system that works in the best interests of the British people and those who play by the rules," the statement read.

The Immigration Bill, set to be introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron's government in September will allow for pubs, restaurants, and certain shops to have their licenses revoked for employing people illegally.

The law would also allow for wages earned by those working in Britain illegally to be seized and would make it easier to prosecute those who knowingly employ illegal workers.

Cameron failed during his previous term to fulfill a pledge to cut immigration levels. The new proposals come ahead of the release of official migration statistics for the UK this Thursday.

bw/lw (AFP, Reuters)