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Clandestine entrants - challenging penalties & fines

Our specialist solicitors assist individuals, businesses and hauliers facing civil penalties following the discovery of clandestine entrants in their vehicles. These penalties can be imposed against drivers and owners of vehicles both jointly and separately.

If you face action by the UK Border Force following the discovery of clandestine entrants, contact our specialist lawyers without delay on 0161 696 6250, alternatively please complete our online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you directly.

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What is a clandestine entrant?

A clandestine entrant is a person who enters the UK concealed in a vehicle in order to evade border controls. Operators of commercial vehicles entering the UK are required to implement effective systems to prevent clandestine entrants stowing away in their vehicles.

What are the penalties for clandestine entrant offences?

Anyone found to carry a clandestine entrant, could face a civil penalty under the UK’s clandestine entrant civil penalty scheme which is established by Part II of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The penalties imposed under the scheme can vary depending on the offence committed, but if you are found to be carrying a clandestine entrant, you may face a fine of up to £10,000 per clandestine entrant found. These penalties can be severed and imposed against drivers and owners of vehicles both jointly and separately.

Further, drivers of vehicles containing goods are required to take measures to prevent clandestine entrants and if the vehicles are not adequately secured, this could also result in a fine. This offence would result in a fine of up to £6,000 and could apply even if no clandestine entrant is found. Drivers and companies employing drivers should be mindful that these offences can be committed when entering or leaving the UK.

Whilst previously, there were a range of defences available to those facing civil penalties, under new legislation, the only statutory defence will be that the driver was acting under duress, which is to say that somebody was forcing them to carry the clandestine entrants.

If you do receive a civil penalty for one of the above offences, the penalty being imposed will be confirmed on form IS11 and will require payment within 60 days from the date of the form. However, you do have the right to object to the fine and any objections must be made within 28 days. It may be that a driver or employer intends to object to the penalty entirely, or to object to the amount being imposed. Companies and drivers may be eligible for a reduction to the fine and the amount of penalty is governed by the Level of Penalty: Code of Practice. The mechanisms for reducing a fine include whether you are a member of the Civil Penalty Accreditation Scheme, whether you have complied with a range of security regulations and whether you are eligible for financial means testing.

You also have the right to appeal. Any appeals against fines must be made within 28 days using form N161. Appeals are made to the County Court.

If one of your vehicles has been found to contain clandestine entrants and you face action by the UK Border Force, you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as possible to protect your interests. To give you certainty over costs, we can offer fixed-fee costs for each of the above steps. For a no-obligation discussion with one of our specialist lawyers, please call 0161 696 6250.

See our top 10 tips for avoiding and challenging penalties for clandestine entrants

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