Illegal workers still a huge problem, reveals poll

30 March 2017 | By James Kenny

More than a third of the construction industry believes illegal workers may have been present at an existing or previous employer, while more than 90% think illegal working could be better tackled.

These were the findings of new research carried out by the Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS) as part of its “Spotlight on…illegal workers” campaign, which hopes to “increase understanding of the risk posed by illegal construction workers and identify what can be done to tackle the problem”.

The poll found that 93% agreed illegal working could be better tackled in the construction industry, while 81% believed illegal working had been on the rise in the past 15 years.

Nearly a third (30%) of those polled agreed that illegal workers posed the greatest threat to health and safety, while 61% admitted they had not received – or rarely received – information on illegal working.

Construction companies in general have become more vigilant on illegal workers since site raids have been on the increase under the Home Office’s Operation Magnify, launched in October 2015. The UK-wide enforcement campaign is aimed at clamping down on firms employing and exploiting illegal migrant workers. 

CCS chief executive Edward Hardy said ensuring the legitimacy of the workforce was one of the key challenges currently facing construction.

“The industry must work together to ensure that checks for workers’ legitimacy becomes firmly entrenched within all construction activity across the UK.

“By challenging sites to explore how they currently assess and monitor the legitimacy of their workforce, the scheme believes that in the not-so-distant future, all registered sites, companies and suppliers will have robust procedures in place,” he added.

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