The wages paid to illegal migrants working in the shadow economy will be confiscated by police as part of a fresh drive by David Cameron to push down immigration.
He will announce that a major Immigration Bill in next week’s Queen’s Speech will include moves to prosecute firms which only advertise abroad for staff and to accelerate the deportation of illegal immigrants.
The Bill will create a new criminal offence of illegal working, which will apply to migrants who have come to Britain illegally as well as those who have overstayed their leave.
Figures are expected to show net annual migration is close to 300,000 – three times the “tens of thousands” figure promised by the Prime Minister ahead of the 2010 election. In a joint letter to The Independent, three influential think-tanks call on Mr Cameron to use tax receipts from foreign workers to ease the pressure on services in areas with high immigration levels.
The issue haunted Mr Cameron during the election campaign and was exploited by Ukip to win the support of large numbers of former Tory and Labour supporters.
The focus of the Government’s new initiative will be to reduce the “pull factor” attracting economic migrants from outside the European Union to Britain.
Mr Cameron will say he is determined to make “Britain a less attractive place to come and work illegally”.
The move comes ahead of Mr Cameron opening talks on 22 May with his European counterparts over toughening the rules over EU nationals’ entitlement to benefits.
Mr Cameron will say: “The truth is it has been too easy to work illegally and employ illegal workers here. So we’ll take a radical step – we’ll make illegal working a criminal offence in its own right.
“That means wages paid to illegal migrants will be seized as proceeds of crime and businesses will be told when their workers’ visas expire. So if you’re involved in illegal working – employer or employee – you’re breaking the law.”
The move will close a loophole which means only migrants with leave to remain who are working illegally can be prosecuted, while others who have not been detected or failed to return home when their visas expire are beyond the scope of the law.
10 things immigration has done for Britain
10 things immigration has done for Britain
1/10 The Mini
The 1959 classic, that is, perhaps our greatest piece of industrial design, a miracle of packaging and revolution in motoring. Its genius designer was Sir Alec Issigonis, who was an asylum seeker. His family, Greek, fled Smyrna when Turks invaded this borderland in around 1920, and he wound up studying engineering at Battersea Polytechnic. He went on to create that most English of motor cars, the Morris Minor, as well as the Austin-Morris 1100, all much loved products of his fertile imagination.
2/10 Marks and Spencer
Once upon a time there was no M&S in Britain, difficult as that may be to believe. We have one Michael Marks to thank for our most famous retailer, and he was a refugee from Belarus, arriving in England in about 1882, and soon after set off to flog stuff around Yorkshire. He eventually teamed with Thomas Spencer to create the vast business we know today.
And many other TV shows created, funded and otherwise produced by that largest of larger-than-life characters, Lew Grade (also a world class tap dancer). The man who dominated commercial television gave us memorable entertainment such as The Prisoner, the Saint and brought the Muppets to Britain (a sort of fuzzy felt wave of immigration), as well as puppet shows where you could see the strings. All this from a penniless Jew from Ukraine, born Lev Winogradsky, who escaped the pogroms in Ukraine with his family in the 1890s. His nephew Michael Grade has also done his bit for British television.
4/10 The House of Windsor
Or the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha until George V prudently rebranded the family during the First World War. Well, our royals are a pretty German bunch, as well as having various types of French and other alien blue blood coursing around their veins. ‘Twas ever thus. There was William the Conqueror, Norman French, who certainly broke the immigration rules; William of Orange, a direct import from Holland; the Hanoverian King Georges, the first barely able to speak English; Queen Victoria, who married a German, Edward VII, who couldn’t stay faithful to his wife, a Danish princess; George V wed another German princess; Edward VIII married an American (though she hardly visited England and prompted his emigration and exile); and the Queen is married to man born in Corfu. The embodiment of the British nation, to many, but one thinks of them as quite multicultural really.
5/10 I Vow To Thee My Country
Our most patriotic hymn was the product of a man named Gustav Holst (pictured), born in Cheltenham, but of varied Swedish, Latvian and German ancestry, who adapted part of his suite The Planets to put a particularly stirring and beautiful poem to music, just after the Great War. As the second verse has it, “there's another country/I've heard of long ago/Most dear to them that love her/most great to them that know”. Imagine if the Holst family had been kept out because the quota on musical European types had been reached.
6/10 Curry and Cobra
Chicken Tikka Masala is, so they say, a dish which not only the most popular in Britain but specifically designed to cater for European tastes. For that we probably have to thank an Indian migrant, Sake Dean Mahomed, who came from Bengal to open the first recognisable Indian restaurant, the magnificently named “Hindoostanee Coffee House”. History does not record if a plate of poppadoms and accompanying selection of pickles and yoghurts were routinely placed on the table for new diners, but we do know that we had to wait until 1989 to taste the ideal lager for a curry - Cobra. That brew was brought to us by Karan (now Lord) Bilimoria, a Cambridge law graduate who hailed from Hyderabad.
7/10 That big red swirly sculpture at the Olympic Park
Or Orbit, to give it its proper name, the work of Anish Kapoor, who arrived in 1973 from India and had the artistic imagination to fill a power station.
8/10 The Sun
Love it or hate it, and many do both, this has been a symbol of much that is successful and a lot that is awful in British journalism since its inception in 1969. In its turn it spawned the Page 3 Girl and some nastily xenophobic headlines. All the stranger when you consider its creator was, of course, Rupert Murdoch, born 11 March 1931 in Melbourne, Australia.
OK, Karl Marx’s philosophy was not much of a gift to the world, but for a while it seemed like a good idea. Though we might not dare admit it, Marxism still has a few insights to offer to anyone wanting to understand the workings of capitalism, though too few to excuse everything that was done in its name. Born in Germany spent much time in the British museum and the British pub, buried Highgate Cemetery. Oddly, his ideas never really caught on in his adopted homeland.
10/10 The NHS
They came from many, many backgrounds, including Ireland, the Philippines, east Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa, as they still do, but the contribution of the black nurses who came to the UK from the Caribbean to heal and care for is a debt of honour that must be recognised. It so sometimes forgotten that it was Enoch Powell, then Minister of Health (1960-62), who campaigned to recruit their skilled nurses to come and work over here. One abiding legacy we can thank Enoch for.
The power will be modelled on the Proceeds of Crime Act under which police can seize the property and money of offenders whose assets have been acquired by crime. In this case the amounts involved will be tiny, but the Government hopes the existence of the power will deter economic migrants from coming to Britain in the first place. The Bill will also:
● Make it illegal for businesses and recruitment agencies to recruit abroad without advertising in Britain;
● Give councils powers to crack down on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants;
● Require banks to check the immigration status of account holders;
● Bring in satellite tracking tags for foreign offenders awaiting deportation;
● Force people to appeal against deportation after they have been removed from Britain – an initiative to “stop people frustrating the system”.
Mr Cameron will argue: “A strong country isn’t one that pulls up the drawbridge – it is one that controls immigration. Because if you have uncontrolled immigration, you have uncontrolled pressure on public services, and that is a basic issue of fairness.
“Uncontrolled immigration can damage our labour market and push down wages. It means too many people entering the UK legally but staying illegally. The British people want these things sorted.”
A summit in Latvia on 22 May will give Mr Cameron the opportunity to open discussions on new rules for EU migration which has been the key factor in Britain’s rising migration figures. It will be the first stage in his efforts to renegotiate the terms of the UK’s EU membership before holding a referendum on whether Britain should stay or leave by the end of 2017.
The meeting’s formal agenda is dominated by relations with former Soviet nations on the EU’s eastern borders, but Downing Street made clear he will use discussions in the margins of the conference to press the UK’s case for change.
In a speech in November, Mr Cameron said he wanted EU migrants to have a job offer before coming to the UK and a bar on claiming benefits until they have been working for four years.
The economic case: Benefits of migrants
The think-tanks British Future, Demos and Bright Blue today call for the economic boost from migration to be directed to areas most affected by foreign workers.
Calling for better monitoring of population changes, Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future, said: “The Prime Minister should face up to the fact that net migration is three times his target and set out practical measures to deal with pressures that brings.
“More people are coming here to work because our economy is doing well. That means more tax revenue for Britain, but it also means more pressure on school places, housing and the NHS.
“Communities feeling those pressures need to see some of the benefits – they shouldn’t just disappear into the Treasury coffers.”