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Employers concerned over new fines

THE main employers' body has raised concerns about an EU proposal to penalise employers who hire illegal immigrants.

IBEC said Irish employers are already accustomed to "very robust" legislation that can see them hit with fines up to €250,000 and 10 years in jail.

The European Parliament recently recommended that employers should be punished for employing illegal immigrants, rather than penalising the immigrants themselves.

If the proposal, known as the Sanctions Directive, is ratified, bosses will be hit by fines that will increase in proportion to the number of illegals they employ and re-offences could lead to criminal prosecutions.

They will also be liable for any unpaid taxes and barred from public procurement tenders for up to five years.

"We believe that some of the proposed penalties are disproportionate," said Tony Donohoe of IBEC.

A report on the draft directive was adopted by MEPs last week.

Deirdre de Burca, a Green Party candidate in next year's European elections, said the report was a "humane and pragmatic" response to illegal immigration.

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