More than four out of 10 fines imposed on companies for hiring illegal workers remain unpaid, it has emerged.
Of the 3,164 illegal labour penalties handed out to employers - mainly restaurants and takeaways - by the UK Border Agency over the past 18-months, 1,301 have yet to be collected.
About £6.5m in fines are believed to be outstanding, while the average fine imposed on guilty employers was £5,000, half the maximum penalty.
Chris Huhne, the home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who released the figures, said the Government needs to "clamp down" on rogue employers by ensuring fines are paid.
A civil penalty system was introduced in February 2008, forcing companies found to be employing illegal workers to pay a sliding scale of penalties, based on how diligently they researched their employees' backgrounds.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Since the system was introduced… we have issued over 3,000 fines and recovered millions of pounds. The majority of unpaid penalties are still subject to objections and pending appeals."
By Daniel Thomas
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