As part of the government’s crackdown on illegal migration and the organised criminal gangs responsible, the fine for bringing a stowaway into Britain will increase to £10,000 per entrant. It is expected during February 2023 that the increased fine, new maximum level and the introduction of a new penalty for failing to secure a goods vehicle adequately will come into force.
The new penalty can be imposed on any responsible person which includes the driver, vehicle owner or hirer, and where a driver is employed by the vehicle owner or hirer such as an HGV, the employer is also liable for the drivers penalty.
The previous fine of £2,000 has been in place since 2002 was set to ensure drivers adequately secure and check their vehicles properly. Robert Jenrick, minister for immigration relayed to MPs concerns that current penalties in the scheme applying to commercial and private vehicles as well as anything designed to be towed or carried by a vehicle (trailers, containers, caravans etc) were not effective enough.
Incidents of clandestine entrants were 3,828 during 2021/22 and increase on 3,154 incidents on 2020/21, causing government concern regards the effectiveness of the current Clandestine Entrants Civil Penalty Scheme. Changes to the scheme are introduced through the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022 with a narrowing of statutory defences available to those who have carried clandestine entrants and increasing the proportion of responsible persons complying with vehicle security standards.