EU parliament backs penalties for employing illegals
Brussels -- The European parliament on Thursday voted for legal sanctions against employers of illegal workers in the EU, hoping to engage businesses and households in the fight against clandestine immigration.
The measures, a compromise deal reached with European Union nations, were easily passed by 552 votes to 105 with 34 abstentions during a mini-session of the parliament in Brussels.
If formally agreed by EU member states ministers, the rules could come into force in 2011, providing administrative and financial penalties and, in the worst cases, criminal sanctions.
At the moment only 19 of the 27 EU nations have criminal penalties available for such cases and these differ widely from country to country.
Between 4.5 million and eight million illegal workers are believed to be employed in Europe’s hotels, farms, homes and other sectors.
Administrative penalties applicable to offending businesses would run from the loss of public funding to the enterprise being shut down.
Bad bosses and their companies would be liable for financial penalties as well as having to pay for the return of the illegal immigrant involved.
The criminal penalties would be reserved for the worst and repeat offenders, particularly where the working conditions are deemed abusive.