Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill — Excuse employers who employed illegal immigrants but took reasonable steps to comply with the necessary requirements — rejected — 16 Nov 2005 at 17:00

The majority No voters rejected an amendment[1] to the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill.

The Bill penalises employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants (or those who don't have the right to work in the UK). However, as the Bill stood, employers can be excused from prosecution if they can show they complied with any "prescribed requirements"[2].

The intention of the amendment was to change this wording so that employers could be excused from prosecution if they "took reasonable steps to comply with any prescribed requirements". However, it was defeated.

The Conservatives justified their amendment as follows:

  • 'Prescribed requirements, which are not defined although the employer has to comply with them, mean inspection of documents. Anybody with the slightest knowledge of the immigration world realises that we are now entering a minefield. Picture yourself, Mr. Deputy Speaker, or any of us here, running a small business taking on labour. Then, one asks to see certain documents. Bearing in mind that many documents that are not real seem to pass the test with our immigration officials and those at airports, I do not see how the innocent employer will spot them.'[3]

However, the government argued that:

  • 'secondary legislation to support the clauses will fulfil the purpose of amendment No. 10 by laying out clearly the practical steps that people can take, and I hope that it reassures the hon. Gentleman that first-time offenders will not be clobbered. The penalty will vary according to how many times the employer has breached the provisions and the extent to which the employer has taken steps to tackle the problem.'[4]

The Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill became law in 2006. Its main aims were to:[5]

  • Restrict appeals from those are refused entry to the UK to work or study. Only rejected asylum applications can have a full appeal
  • Criminalise employers who knowingly employ illegal immigrants
  • Allow biometric data to be taken from people entering the UK
  • Requires that asylum is refused to anyone who is involved in terrorist activities


Debate in Parliament | Source |

Public Whip is run as a free not-for-profit free service. If you'd like to support us, please consider switching your electricity and/or gas to Bulb Energy who provide 100% renewable electricity and tend to be 20% cheaper than the 'Big Six'. They'll also pay any exit fees (up to £120) from your old supplier AND give you (and us) a £50 credit for joining up via our Bulb Referral Link.

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 155 (+2 tell)080.1%
DUP0 7077.8%
Independent0 1050.0%
Lab274 (+2 tell) 0078.0%
LDem0 52083.9%
PC0 30100.0%
SNP0 4066.7%
UUP0 10100.0%
Total:274 223079.1%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

About the Project

The Public Whip is a not-for-profit, open source website created in 2003 by Francis Irving and Julian Todd and now run by Bairwell Ltd.

PublicWhip v2 codebase is currently under development - you can join the Slack group to find out more or email [email protected]

The Whip on the Web

Help keep PublicWhip alive