The Home Office has apparently pointed the blame at truck drivers for the number of clandestine entrants via lorry to the UK, accusing drivers of “not taking the steps required to secure vehicles".
In addition, as confirmed by Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick, the fine for bringing clandestine entrants into the UK will soon increase from £2,000 to £10,000 per migrant.
The comments and plans of the Home Office and Ministry for Immigration were laid out in a document published on the UK Government’s official website.
The document explains the reform of the Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme and states why changes are required.
Finger pointed at lorry drivers for not securing their vehicles
On page one of the document, the Home Office refers to “lorry drivers not taking the steps required to secure vehicles” within the context of several thousands of clandestine entrants being reported over the last couple of years:
“During the financial year 2020-2021, there were 3,145 incidents where clandestine entrants were detected concealed in vehicles, despite the Covid19 pandemic causing a lower volume of traffic. This rose to 3,838 incidents during the financial year 2021-2022.
The Government is therefore concerned that the Scheme is not having enough of an effect, as drivers are not taking the steps required to secure vehicles, and clandestine entrants are continuing to use these routes to enter the UK,” says the Home Office.
Stiffer penalties for drivers and hauliers
The document, as well as the draft bill itself, both state that stiffer penalties will be deployed in order to try and cut the number of clandestine entrants.
“Last year at least 4,000 migrants attempted to enter the UK in HGVs. We’re increasing the fine for bringing stowaways into the country from £2k to £10k per migrant. The penalties hadn’t changed for 20 years. We’re restoring deterrence to the system,”
Where the fines apply
The exact value of the fines will depend on numerous factors. In most cases, however, it will be impossible to avoid a fine for transporting migrants – even if the driver secured his/her vehicle and is unaware a stowaway is onboard.
How fines will be calculated
As for how the fines will be calculated, the relevant part of the Home Office document reads as follows:
“The maximum penalty for carrying clandestine entrants will be increased from £2,000 per responsible person per clandestine entrant to £6,000 for a first incident and £10,000 for a second or subsequent incident in the past five years. The maximum aggregate penalty per clandestine entrant will be increased from £4,000 to £12,000 for a first incident, and £20, 000 for a second or subsequent incident in the past five years.
The maximum penalty for failing to adequately secure a goods vehicle will be £1,500 per responsible person for a first incident, £3, 000 for a second in the past five years and £6, 000 for a third or subsequent incident in the past five years. The maximum aggregate penalty for a first incident will be £3,000, £6,000 for a second incident in the past five years and £12, 000 for a third or subsequent incident in the past five years.
By ‘maximum aggregate penalty’, we mean the maximum total penalty payable by all liable responsible persons per clandestine entrant.”