IRU is concerned about the announced changes to the UK government’s Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme for road hauliers, which will enter into force on 13 February 2023, and the potential impact it could have on UK-Europe supply chains.
Increasing numbers of clandestine entrants are attempting to enter the UK illegally, including by stowing aboard trucks transporting goods from the European continent, despite extensive checks and extra security measures taken by transport operators. These measures already cost haulage firms over GBP 1 billion annually.
Organised crime and human trafficking gangs are seen as a primary cause behind the increases in clandestine entrants over recent years.
Despite extensive consultations, the UK government has reviewed the scheme that penalises truck drivers and owners for transporting illegal immigrants into the UK without actually considering the real causes.
Maximum penalties per clandestine immigrant found aboard will increase five-fold and additional penalties have been added for inadequately securing a vehicle. Aggregate penalties for several persons responsible for an incident are even higher.
In response to the announced reforms, IRU Director EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “These changes are misguided and do not target the root causes of clandestine entrants.
“Huge increases in penalties, combined with the suppression of the presumption of innocence for truck drivers and transport operators will deter even more transport firms from running these crucial freight routes across the English Channel, without providing a solution to the clandestine immigration challenge. This will increase transport costs, risks, delays and instability for supply chains.”
“Solutions need to address the causes of the problem and not just assume that haulage firms and drivers are to blame. We should rather be encouraging road transport companies that have invested in adequate security measures for their drivers, vehicles and operations,” Raluca Marian added.
More information on the reforms are available on the UK government’s website.