Lorry drivers are set to be hit with higher fines for bringing in stowaways into the UK, currently the fines are set at £2,000 and will rise to £10,000 per migrant. It is part of trying to crack down on illegal migration and to try to dismantle the organised criminals behind the operations. The new fines will be put into place from 13th February 2023 and the UK Government will also include new security standards for all vehicles.
In 2020-2021 there was 3,145 where clandestine entrants were found hidden in vehicles despite the Covid-Pandemic and lower foot fall of traffic, in 2021-2022 figures were risen to 3,838. The new scheme is targeted to tackle negligence by drivers who are not criminals but who neglect in checking their vehicles that stowaway’s can get on board without them knowing. Under the Immigration Legislation, the UK Government is able to penalise vehicle owners, hirers and drivers who fail to secure a vehicle for carrying clandestine entrants to Britain. The new maximum fine will apply for each migrant found in a vehicle, meaning if a driver has two stowaways they could face a penalty of £20,000.
Mr Robert Jenrick, Minister of State for Immigration said: “The Government was concerned the Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme was not having enough of an effect, existing penalty levels have not changed since 2002.”
“Drivers and other responsible persons are not taking the steps required to secure their vehicles, and clandestine entrants are continuing to use these routes to come to the UK.”
“Our reforms, including new penalty levels, have been designed to strike a better balance between negligence and failures to comply with vehicle security standards, while ensuring that the regime is not overly burdensome on industry.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “This is the first overhaul of the Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme in 20 years and demonstrates the Governments’ ongoing commitment to cracking down on illegal migration.”
“Far too many vehicles are currently not adequately secured. These measures are another tool in securing our border, deterring illegal migration and disrupting the business model of people smugglers.”
Those who do deliberately attempt to smuggle people into Britain face criminal prosecution, rather than fines under the new scheme.