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Hire illegals, risk prison - new EU directive

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Hire illegals, risk prison - new EU directive

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Employers of illegal immigrants could be punished throughout the EU from 2011. A directive laying down standard penalties, including prison terms has been adopted in the European Parliament.

The sanctions directive guided throught the assembly by Claudio Fava is intended to fight illegal immigration. Employers could now be fined, banned or criminally charged if seen to be employing, exploiting or trafficking illegal workers. An employer could also be punished if one of its subcontractors used illegal immigrants. The move already has the European Commission and member governments’ support, through a co-decision procedure. The sanctions directive follows the return directive, which harmonises the rules on expulsion, and the “blue card”, to help skilled migrant workers into the EU who match countries’ labour market needs.