Publication types:

Publication topics:
Immigration offences

Published on:

20 March 2024

A consultation paper on sentencing immigration offences.

Why Immigration offences?

This consultation seeks views on a draft of the first dedicated sentencing guidelines for immigration offences under the Immigration Act 1971 and the Identity Documents Act 2010.

There are currently no definitive guidelines for these offences.

The draft guidelines cover the 1971 Act offences of Facilitation (assisting unlawful immigration to the UK and helping asylum – seekers to enter the UK) (section 25 and 25A); Deception (section 24A); Breach of Deportation Order (section 24(A1)); Knowingly entering the UK without leave (section 24(B1)), and Knowingly arriving in the UK without valid entry clearance (section 24(D1)).

The draft guidelines also cover the 2010 offences of possession of false identity documents with improper intention (section 4) and possession of false identity documents without reasonable excuse (section 6).

There are many more immigration offences that could have been included however the Council has chosen to focus on the higher volume, more serious offences.

A number of changes have been made to the Immigration Act 1971 by the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 (NABA).

NABA increased the statutory maximum penalty for the Facilitation offences (section 25 and 25A) raising it from 14 years to life imprisonment.

The Act also amended the offences of breach of a deportation order (section 24(A1)) and knowingly enters the UK without leave (section 24(B1)), increasing the statutory maximum sentences from 6 months to 5 years and 4 years respectively.

In addition, a number of new offences were created including knowingly arriving in the UK without valid entry clearance (section 24(D1)) which was given a maximum sentence of 4 years.

Who should respond?

We would like to hear from anyone who uses sentencing guidelines in their work or who has an interest in sentencing. We would also like to hear from individuals and organisations representing anyone who could be affected by the proposals including:

  • victims and their families;
  • defendants and their families;
  • those under probation supervision or youth offending teams/supervision;
  • those with protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

What is the Council consulting about?

The Council has produced this consultation paper in order to seek views from as many people as possible interested in the sentencing of immigration offences.

However, it is important to clarify that the Council is consulting on sentencing guidelines for these offences and not the legislation upon which such offences are based. The relevant legislation is a matter for Parliament and is, therefore, outside the scope of this exercise.

What do we want to know?

Through this consultation process, the Council is seeking views on:

  • the principal factors that make any of the offences included within the draft guidelines more or less serious;
  • the additional factors that should influence the sentence;
  • the types and lengths of sentence that should be passed; and
  • anything else you think should be considered.

When and how to respond

The consultation closes on 12 June 2024. See About this consultation for how to respond and our policies on Freedom of Information and privacy.

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