Government Steps up Campaign to Tackle Illegal Working in Cleaning Sector

The Home Office has launched a campaign to drive compliance and root out illegal working in the cleaning industry, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has announced.

Immigration enforcement officers are currently carrying out operations targeting agencies and service providers in the sector who employ and exploit illegal migrant workers.

Last week the Home Office hosted a meeting with leaders from the cleaning industry, including the BCC, to discuss plans to end illegal working in the sector.

Mr Brokenshire said:

“Illegal working undermines legitimate employers, harms the reputation of the industry, drives down wages and denies employment to hard-working UK citizens and people who are working in the UK legally.

“Bringing together key employers and influencers in the cleaning industry has shown us the very clear determination of those working in the sector to maintain its integrity.

“It has also given us an opportunity to underline the vital role employers have to play, by ensuring they carry out the straightforward ‘Right to Work’ checks on potential employees which will prevent illegal working in the UK.”

The roundtable event was an opportunity for those in the cleaning industry to share their experiences of illegal working in the sector, find out more about measures being introduced by the Government to tackle the problem, and discuss what more can be done.

Those attending included representatives from cleaning companies and industry bodies including MITIE, the British Cleaning Council and the Cleaning and Support Services Association.

British Cleaning Council Chairman Simon Hollingbery said:

“We fully support this campaign, and have been working with the Home Office Immigration Enforcement team for a number of months. Rogue cleaning contractors have no place in the cleaning industry. They take on illegal migrants purposely to undercut genuine, law abiding firms.The vast majority of cleaning contractors will welcome this latest move and we have invited members of the immigration team to speak at the Manchester Cleaning Show in April.”

Failure to comply with the rules has serious financial repercussions for employers – in the last Parliament the Government doubled the maximum civil penalty for non-compliant employers to £20,000 for each illegal worker employed.

In addition, new measures in the Immigration Bill will make it easier to prosecute employers using illegal labour and to close down the businesses where they repeatedly flout the law.

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