The Home Office is proposing stricter penalties for hauliers found to be carrying clandestine migrants, as part of a consultation announced today (18 July).

The consultation proposes changes to be made through the Nationality and Borders Act which are aimed at deterring illegal entry into the UK.

This includes plans to increase the maximum penalty of £2,000 for hauliers and vehicle drivers found carrying clandestine migrants.

The consultation is also proposing new civil penalties for hauliers and vehicle drivers who fail to adequately secure their vehicle and conduct proper checks, regardless of whether a clandestine entrant is found.

Announcing the consultation, the Home Office said: “Since 2020, the number of clandestine entrants coming to the UK via HGV and goods vehicles has continued to increase year-on-year. The government is determined to stop this, including via these refreshed penalties for hauliers and vehicle drivers who leave themselves vulnerable to exploitation.

“Ahead of implementation, we are seeking the views of vehicle drivers, companies and other interested parties on all these new measures.”

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The consultation with the industry will run for eight weeks and will close on 12 September 2022.

Alongside the consultation, the Home Office will be running a series of engagement events to explore these issues in more detail.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Simon Baynes MP added: “We are determined to do all we can to prevent illegal entry into the UK.

“Criminal gangs who risk the lives of desperate people for profit are taking advantage of those whose vehicles travel in and out of the country.

“Far too many vehicles are currently not adequately secured, and we will seek to increase penalties on those who are negligent and prosecute those who are complicit.

“This consultation is the next vital step in achieving this, and we look forward to working with the haulage industry and other interested parties to ensure that they are aware of the necessary requirements.”