No toughening of policies in Dorset

A new set of EU policies against employers of illegal workers is unlikely to change the law in the UK. Graham Watson, South West MEP, says there is already a tough approach to workers who employ illegal immigrants, therefore the new rules “may not require a change in law”.

The proposal, which was approved by the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, would introduce stricter sanctions to employers. They would vary from administrative fines to criminal sanctions to a ban from public contracts for up to five years depending on the gravity, scale and persistence of illegal employment practices.

The directive is part of a broader package to prevent illegal immigration. “ We are trying to reduce effort into illegal immigration, whilst opening the door slightly to legal migration” Mr Graham says.

There are no definite numbers for illegal workers in Dorset, but Mr Graham says there is evidence that many migrants from Asia are trafficked in the UK.

He adds that migration laws are particularly important in the South West, with an economy dependent on legal migrants “The South West is a region which has the need for temporary seasonal workers in industries such as agriculture. Reports have shown how very hard pressed we would be here in the South West without a pool of immigrant labour”.

But Mr Graham is quick to add that we shouldn’t forget there are also many legal workers in the UK, and that while illegal migration should be fought, “ we must not turn Europe into a fortress”.

Giles Chichester, local MEP, was also adamant the UK would not adopt the new “sanctions directive”, which he feels is not necessary “there are already pretty onerous requirements on UK employers to satisfy themselves and the authorities that they are only employing people legitimately available for work”.

For further information visit www.europa.net

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