Updated rules for hauliers on prevention of illegal entry to the UK

On 13 February 2023 the Carriers’ Liability (Amendment) Regulations 2023 came into force which changed the rules and penalties relating to vehicles carrying clandestine entrants to the UK.

The Government have said that in the financial year 2020-2021, there were 3,145 incidents where clandestine entrants were detected concealed in vehicles. This rose to 3,838 incidents during the financial year 2021-2022. The Government wish to increase compliance with security standards and to stop people from using unsecured vehicles to try and come to the UK.

From this date, hauliers, which includes vehicle owners, operators, hirers and drivers, must ensure that they take reasonable measures to secure the vehicle to prevent clandestine entrants from entering the UK.  The new regulation sets out “the standard checks” which lists the standard security checks each responsible person is expected to undertake on the vehicle.

If hauliers are found to not properly secure their vehicles, they can be fined up to £6,000 per responsible person. Vehicle owners and hirers may be liable for fines issued against the vehicle driver.  These fines can be issued even if no clandestine entrant has been found on the vehicle.

Additionally, fines for carrying clandestine entrants have now increased from £2,000 per responsible person, per clandestine entrant, to £10,000 per responsible person, per clandestine entrant.

The Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme has been rehauled to take into account the increased penalties and to set out instances of when the penalty can be reduced, such as in instances of compliance with the new regulations. Penalties can also be reduced for means testing.

Finally, the government are relaunching their Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Accreditation Scheme. The Scheme is a wholly voluntary compliance scheme which provides guidance and support to road transport companies and their drivers. Members of the scheme will receive a 50% reduction to civil penalties to any breaches to the Carriers’ Liability Regulations.

The new regulation increases the liability and financial penalty to an any haulage company coming to the UK.

If you wish for further information or wish to discuss how you can protect your business, please contact a member of our Immigration Team who will be happy to assist.

The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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