ESTA Newsflash: Changes to the UK’s Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme for Hauliers

The UK Government has decided that the amended Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme for Hauliers will be applied from Monday 13 February 2023.

These reforms are part of the UK Government’s continued fight against clandestine entry.
The changes to the scheme include:
• Higher maximum penalties for carrying a clandestine migrant
• A new penalty for failing to adequately secure a goods vehicle
• New regulations setting out vehicle security standards
• A new code of practice setting out circumstances in which the level of a penalty could be reduced
• New guidance for hauliers available in multiple languages

You can find more information on the UK Government’s website: Clandestine Entrant Civil Penalty Scheme (

Source: UK Government Home Office

ESTA Comment:
We are sharing this UK government message with you for your information.

People smuggling is a crime and we condemn unreservedly those involved in deliberate trafficking. However, we need to ensure that innocent operators and drivers who have made every effort to secure their vehicles and trailers are not unfairly punished.

In addition, ESTA considers the design and implementation of this clandestine access scheme, and especially the fines, to be excessive.

It is our understanding that the maximum penalty for carrying stowaways will increase from £2,000 to £10,000, per migrant.

We also understand that owners, hirers, or drivers will be fined if they fail to secure a vehicle to prevent clandestine entry, even if no clandestine entrants are on board, to the tune of £1,500 per responsible person for a first incident. In other words, the failure to secure a vehicle is an offence punishable with a fine.

Penalties can be waived if firms are a member of the Civil Penalty Accreditation Scheme and can demonstrate they have made every effort to follow regulations on securing vehicles.

Companies can join the scheme here –

We also recommend that members are aware of the means testing section in Part Three of the ‘Code of Practices’ programme, which can reduce a fine by up to 75% where applicable.