Powers and remit to change at GLA
16th May 2016
The GLA is set for new name and expanded powers to address labour exploitation more effectively now the new Immigration Bill has received Royal Assent.
The move has been welcomed by Chief Executive Paul Broadbent who said: “The ability to investigate labour exploitation wherever and whenever it happens across the UK, regardless of the industry, is crucial if we are to deal with abuses that are ever-present across some other sectors that use low-cost, low-skilled labour.
“The reach of the GLA into these extra areas will cover all types of worker regardless of whether they are temporary, directly or self-employed.”
GLA Chair, Margaret Beels added: “The industry has told us consistently over a number of years that people are being exploited for their labour in areas where we previously had no opportunity to help the victims and no powers to investigate and tackle the exploiters.
“The Immigration Act changes that and I am encouraged by the new legislation.
“I am also aware that stakeholders are concerned that our work with compliant Gangmasters to date will be weakened by this move, hence, discussions will continue in an effort to ensure our available resources match the inevitable increase in demand.
“As well as new offences, the Act will create additional roles within the GLA – labour market enforcement officers - tasked specifically with addressing the most severe forms of labour abuse.
“These will operate wherever that may occur - not just in the food and farming industries - and regardless of how that person is employed.”
The changes in the Act that will directly affect the GLA are as follows:
- Reform the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)
- A broader remit and stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy, introducing the capacity to search and seize evidence and investigate modern slavery where it relates to labour abuse and other offences
- Create a new labour market undertaking and enforcement order regime, backed up by a criminal offence and custodial sentence – to allow us to tackle repeat labour market offenders and rogue businesses
- Create the role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement to set the strategic priorities for labour market enforcement bodies (the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage team and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority) in an annual labour market enforcement strategy
- Create an information hub to support the work of the Director
- Allow data sharing between the Director, the Information Hub, labour market enforcement bodies and other bodies with intelligence that inform the preparation of the labour market enforcement strategy
To read the Immigration Act 2016, which outlines the changes from GLA to GLAA click here.