Reports that the Government is planning to fire directors whose companies hire illegal workers and seize their assets have been dismissed as "highly speculative" by the Home Office.
A report in the Sunday Times suggested that the Home Office is considering a "two strikes and you are out" approach. It also suggested the Government may punish companies even when illegal workers were supplied by agencies.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office said the department would be publishing its proposed reforms of immigration rules later this year and insisted that the reports were "pure speculation".
Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association who sits on the Home Office's illegal working group, said it wasn't a proposal he was familiar with. "This particular suggestion is a new one on me," he said.
Couchman was aware of proposals to take a hard line against companies who deliberately employed illegal immigrants with threats of jail and unlimited fines, but viewed these ideas as "excessive" and "a bit draconian".
The Capital People Agency reckons up to one-third of London's 300 agencies supplying staff to hospitality firms may not be playing by the rules on illegal workers.
By Angela Frewin