Immigration Bill Committee

Written evidence submitted by NSL (IB 02)

Immigration Bill (HC Bill 74) evidence briefing

NSL is an identity document and right-to-work screening expert, having worked for a number of years with many notable organisations to ensure all those they employ have the right to employment in the UK. In addition, we are a Recognised Supplier to the National Landlords’ Association (NLA) and have conducted many of the checks during the pilot right-to-rent scheme in the West Midlands. In order to do this NSL uses the world’s most advanced identity document verification systems, powered by Keesing Technologies, and provides comprehensive vetting management, driving licence entitlement monitoring, criminal record checks, background screening services and systems tailored to employers’ needs.

As a result of our expertise in the area, NSL has prepared a short briefing for the Immigration Bill Committee in order to highlight various areas where we feel we can offer our insight. We have created a ‘traffic light system’, which easily identifies legislative amendments that i) we welcome (green), ii) we feel there is scope for further additions to what has been proposed in the Bill (amber) and iii) we feel should be included in the Bill (red).

If you have any questions about the below points, NSL would be happy to provide further information, including giving oral evidence, should that be helpful.

Issue

Overview

Suggested Amendment

Offence of illegal working

Within part one of the Bill the Government has outlined the offence of illegal working. In instances hitherto, when police officers were notified of an illegal worker, they did not have sufficient grounds to remove the worker. Making it an offence of illegal working provides clarity for security services on how illegal workers can be dealt with.

NSL is fully supportive of this and is well positioned to help with enforcement.

Illegal working premises closure notice

To deal with those employers who continue to flout the law by employing illegal workers and evade sanctions, part 1 of the Bill will introduce a power to close premises for 48 hours or more. We welcome this, however, we believe that this may give rise to so-called ‘phoenix companies’.

In order to avoid this, we suggest that the Government target individuals within companies – such as company directors – barring them from holding similar roles in future if they continue to evade the law.

Amendment to Licensing Act 2003

NSL welcomes the move in part 1 to ensure that licences will only be issued to off licences based on the condition that they are not breaching immigration laws, including employing illegal workers.

NSL believes that in order to be effective, this must be equally applicable to employers of all sizes.

Right to Rent checks

Part three of the Bill will enable landlords to evict illegal migrant tenants more easily, and in some circumstances without a court order. NSL welcomes this amendment as it is likely to act as an effective deterrent.

In our experience, this is likely to force underground those who are seeking to rent illegally. As a result it is advisable that whilst extending this programme nationwide, the Government should also strengthen laws that protect people that are being taken advantage of by rogue landlords.

Seize wages of illegal workers as proceeds of crime

The Bill will make illegal working a criminal offence in its own right, which we support. As part of this the Government proposes that wages paid to all illegal workers will be recoverable under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. However in reality, those that are working illegally are usually earning less than minimum wage and are living hand to mouth and will not have considerable assets.

This is unlikely to pose as an effective deterrent to illegal working. Instead time may be better spent chasing employers that seek to exploit vulnerable workers.

Border security

One of the most fruitful ways to reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country is through strong and effective border control. However, the government does not have the funds to increase the number of immigration officers.

NSL recommends that immigration officials copy the system in place in policing with the employment of PCSOs. This would include employing Immigration Support Officers at lesser expense to carry out administrative duties relating to border control.

Leave to remain

The Bill broaches on the topic of leave to remain by providing a power to cancel leave extended by a statute where conditions of leave have been breached. However, there remains an issue within existing legislation that has created a quagmire for those that have been granted leave to remain but have not renewed their documents in that they are not afforded the right to work until their documents have been updated.

NSL recommends that the Government facilitate those with indefinite leave to remain to renew their documentation quickly and easily, and make them aware that failure to do so will result in them working illegally in the UK.

About NSL

NSL is a leading UK company specialising in the delivery and management of frontline services in complex public sector and regulated environments. Our core services include business process management; enforcement; passenger and social transport; street management and technical design services. We currently have over 70 contracts with local, regional and central government, and have delivered contracts for high-profile government agencies, such as The Royal Parks, DVLA, Transport for London and Transport Northern Ireland. NSL employs more than 5,250 people and has over 300 offices throughout the UK. We are an Investor in People Champion, and have been awarded an Investor in People GOLD Award, joining the top 2% of UK organisations to have achieved the prestigious standard, which is given only to organisations who can demonstrate excellence in developing and supporting their staff.

October 2015

Prepared 21st October 2015