Select Committee on Home Affairs Additional Written Evidence

16.  Third supplementary memorandum submitted by the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Home Office



  The Government is determined to tackle illegal migrant working and its harmful social effects. Our strategy includes:

—    strengthening enforcement capacity and activity;

—    working in partnership with business to improve compliance; and

—    closer joint working between departments.

1.  Strengthening enforcement capacity and activity—    Illegal working operations are a priority for the Immigration Service, and we are increasing our enforcement capacity. In 2005, the UK Immigration Service carried out 2,850 enforcement operations against illegal work, as against 1,618 operations the previous year. Operations against illegal working are intelligence-led and contribute to our efforts to deliver targets for the removal of failed asylum seekers. The measures to combat illegal working in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill will enable us to deal more swiftly and effectively with routine cases of non-compliance, and allow the Immigration Service to concentrate its prosecution resources on the more serious cases.

2.  Working in partnership with business

—    The majority of UK employers are law abiding and we are keen to work with business to encourage compliance with the law on the prevention of illegal migrant working. The Home Office Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality chairs the Illegal Working Stakeholder Group comprising key stakeholders from the UK's commercial sector, representatives of migrant workers and minority communities, who meet to discuss legislative and other practical ways to address illegal migrant working in the UK. IND is active in supporting businesses comply with the law through the provision of web-based guidance, an employers helpline, and educational visits by enforcement staff.

3.  Closer joint working between Government departments

—    The Immigration Service is leading the Joint Workplace Enforcement pilot (JWEP), which is exploring the scope for closer co-ordinated working, including intelligence sharing, between Government workplace enforcement departments to tackle both the use and exploitation of illegal migrant workers. The pilot draws together a co-located team of enforcement and intelligence officials from UKIS, HMRC, DWP, DTI, Health & Safety Executive and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, to share information and co-ordinate operations against employers, employment agencies, labour providers and any type of business who are involved in the deliberate use or supply of illegal migrant workers. An initial evaluation of the pilot will take place shortly.

—    Our involvement in joint working goes far wider than JWEP. We have established intelligence-sharing links with a range of other law enforcement agencies which are relevant to activity against illegal working. The Serious Organised Crime agency will lead action against organised immigration crime, including where this involves the trade in illegal labour. We are also working closely with DEFRA and the Gangmaster Licensing Authority to establish the licensing arrangements for agricultural labour providers; I am an ex officio member of the Gangmaster Licensing Authority Board am concerned to ensure the licensing scheme eliminates illegal working from the areas it covers.


  We are committed to developing the capacity of Criminal Investigations Teams belonging to the Enforcement and Removals Directorate (ERD), by developing prosecution capability which will to enable officers to more fully implement the investigative powers (both criminal and financial) available to them.

1.  Purpose and scope of ERD investigations—    The purpose of the ERD investigations capability is to conduct compliance, investigation and prosecution activities to support removals and tackle immigration-related crime. The capability is focussed on enforcing the immigration rules and discouraging illegal activity, rather than achieving volume prosecutions per se. To this end, ERD officers investigate a wide range of offences. Activities range from the investigation and prosecution of individuals for failing to comply with the documentation process, to the disruption and prosecution of criminals involved in organised immigration crime.

2.  ERD criminal investigations teams

—    The ERD Criminal Investigations capability currently consists of eight Criminal Investigations Teams. The teams work either alone or jointly with the police, to conduct investigations and prosecutions against those who commit immigration-related crime.

3.  Data on investigations

—    Data on ERD prosecutions is derived from the National Prosecutions Database. This is a bespoke database that ERD investigations teams use to record details of their investigations. It is scheduled to undergo development to enhance the type and quality of management information that is available.

—    The target for ERD Criminal Investigations Teams in FY 2005-06 is to initiate 700 investigations. The following data gives information on progress against this target:

—  506 new investigations have been commenced in the current FY (up to end of December 2005).

—  407 cases have been completed. This figure includes new cases initiated in this FY and ongoing cases from the previous year.

—  Of the 407 cases completed this FY, 293 cases (72%) resulted in a prosecution and a criminal sanction/outcome. A breakdown of these outcomes is given in Tables 1a and 1b.

—  114 cases (28%) were not taken forward for prosecution.

—    There a number of reasons why investigations initiated by the Criminal Investigations Teams are not always taken through to criminal prosecution. These include amongst other things:

—  Insufficient evidence or no evidence of the alleged offence.

—  Immigration powers being used to effect removal instead of going down the criminal prosecutions route.

—  Subject agreeing to comply with enforcement action after prosecution action has been initiated.


Case Outcome
Total (No)
Total (%)

Custodial Sentence
Suspended Sentence
Community Service


Custodial Sentence (duration)
Total (No)
Total (%)

0-3 months
4-6 months
7-12 months
1-2 years
2-5 years
5-10 years
4.  Tackling organised immigration crime

—    UKIS is determined to tackle organised immigration crime. It is just one of a number of agencies who share this commitment. The work of ERD in this respect is focussed on a combination of joint working initiatives and the development of its existing capability towards more complex investigations into organised crime.

—    ERD currently directs a portion of its investigations resources specifically towards tackling organised immigration crime. This has resulted in the prosecution of numerous individuals for offences relating to marriage abuse, student/college abuse, forgery rackets and illegal working. These resources are currently being developed with the addition of a financial investigations capability, which will enable our investigators to pursue these criminals using Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) powers.

—    ERD also gives specialist support to the police, providing operational support to borough and national police forces, and also specialist police units such as SCD7 (Kidnap Unit) and SCD8 (Operation Trident). Immigration Officers conduct a range of activities with these units, such as assisting with the identification of foreign nationals involved in gun crime and related drug dealing, supporting the investigation, apprehension and arrest of individuals suspected or involved in terrorist activities, and providing support in police-led cases involving marriage abuse, student abuse and illegal working.

5.  Developing the ERD investigations capability

—    ERD is currently working to develop its prosecutions capability to enable its officers to more fully implement the investigative powers (both criminal and financial) available to them.

—    Deterring abuse and promoting compliance to the immigration system will be central to this development. To this end, the capability will focus primarily on promoting increased compliance to IS processes, but will also work to increasingly target and disrupt specific areas of immigration abuse and organised crime.

—    A range of measures to support this development are either currently in progress or at the proposals stage:

—    Appointment of Head of Profession for ERD Criminal Investigations and supporting senior management team to lead on the development of an ERD Criminal and Financial Investigations capability.

—    A review of INDs operational processes. This work will consider how ERD investigators and other staff can work together to deter non-compliant behaviour in a way that will maximise the impact of individual prosecutions and prevent the escalation of non-compliant behaviour.

—    To support the increased consolidation of the investigations capability into the business, ERD will look to train more of its staff as investigators. This will enable ERD as a whole to more effectively stamp out less serious abuses of the immigration rules as they arise.

—    Building on the range of investigative tools that ERD investigators have available to them. Through the development of a financial investigations capability, to support our existing criminal investigators. These investigators will use Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 powers to focus on the key drivers for immigration-related crime, taking away from criminals the benefits of economic betterment and financial gain that are often associated with immigration crime.

—    A manual for UKIS investigators is substantially in draft and will be issued as soon as possible. The manual will be a comprehensive guide for all IS investigators.

Dave Roberts

Director, Enforcement and Removals

27 February 2006

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