A consultation has been launched by the Home Office that seeks the views of anyone with an interest in the Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme, particularly those who operate or drive commercial vehicles into the UK. The consultation runs for eight weeks and closes on 12 September 2022.
Why is there a consultation?
There was a small rise in the number of clandestine entrants detected by UK Border Force between 2020 and 2021 and so the Government is concerned that the current scheme is not having enough of an effect with drivers seemingly not taking the steps required to secure vehicles. Because of this, clandestine entrants are continuing to use these routes to enter the UK.
The Government introduced changes to the current scheme through the new Nationality and Borders Act 2022. The changes under the 2022 Act include narrowing the statutory defences available to those who have carried a clandestine entrant.
The 2022 Act also introduces a new civil penalty for failing to adequately secure a goods vehicle, regardless of whether a clandestine entrant has been found. The Secretary of State will also make regulations which set out what is meant by a goods vehicle being adequately secure and the required vehicle security standards that will determine whether liability arises under this new offence. These may include vehicle checks, reporting unauthorised access and retaining records to demonstrate steps taken.
Lastly, the government has also agreed to consult on the level of penalty for the new offence of failing to adequately secure a goods vehicle, with a view to bringing into operation a new Level of Penalty: Code of Practice
How to take part
Before any of these regulations can be made under the 2022 Act, the Secretary of State has a statutory duty to consult with such persons as she considers appropriate. This consultation discharges that duty and allows those concerned with the proposals to voice them appropriately.
DWF are reaching out to clients and industry professionals alike to gather their views and act as Representative Group in response to the consultation.
If you wish to take part in the consultation via DWF, our survey can be viewed here. Please note that the deadline for completion is Friday 9 September 2022.
We will be delving deeper into the consultation in the coming weeks, offering insight as to how some of these changes could impact your business and how you can prepare better for entering the UK.