Plans to improve the civil penalties scheme for truck drivers that raised £6.6m in fines for carrying illegal immigrants last year have been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association.
FTA is pleased to see the Government working with the freight industry in order to combat illegal immigration. The Association embraced the opportunity to contribute to a newly-announced Home Office consultation the scheme that levies financial penalties against operators and drivers when migrants are found aboard their vehicle on entry to the UK.
HGV drivers caught with illegal stowaways on-board their vehicles are currently fined up to £2,000 per clandestine discovered. Around 40 clandestine migrants a day were estimated to be entering Dover last summer.
The Home Office has stated that it will use the civil penalty to improve the behaviours of the careless or reckless; to improve the civil penalty regime by strengthening the codes of practice so that they underline the need for all hauliers to show they have effective security measures – with potential penalties if they don’t.
Chris Yarsley – FTA Manager of Road Freight Enforcement said:
“FTA is pleased to see the Government working with our industry in an effort to try and combat illegal immigration. Following the mass migration in to the EU over the past year we welcome the opportunity to revise the charging regime so that it incentivises operators to better secure their vehicles and could offer possible benefits for those who go further than the required minimum.
“The levels of penalties have not been amended for over 10 years and vehicle security technologies have improved immensely so it is now time to look at the entirety of the scheme.”
FTA has long been involved in discussions with the Minister of State for Immigration – James Brokenshire, relevant officials in the Home Office and maintains regular contact with Border Force to ensure clear and consistent communication between both sides.
It has been revealed today that around 40 clandestine migrants per day – many from the Calais Jungle Camp, were discovered in the Kent town of Dover and the surrounding area last summer, with more than 3,600 being picked up by the Home Office between July and September 2015.