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Immigrant workers issue back in the news

Published 28th September, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Immigrant workers issue back in the news

Recent reports in the media have suggested that Illegal immigrants have been discovered working as cleaners at the House of Commons. It is suspected that the 10 employees had been working illegally in Parliament for several months.

Employers discovered using illegal immigrants are normally issued with a notification of potential liability and could face a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker. The allegations are the latest in a series of reports of embarrassing security lapses for officialdom.

Incidents include last year’s discovery that illegal immigrants were employed as cleaners in the Home Office’s buildings, and the Brazilian cleaner who was discovered using a fake pass while working at the House of Commons in 2008.

All staff at the Palace of Westminster are supposed to undergo stringent background checks by police and the security services before being issued passes.

Mark Woodhead, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said: “The Houses of Parliament have some of the most diligent and thorough security procedures anywhere in the world, yet despite all their resources and legislative experience, they still appear to be falling foul of the rules. In this environment, what chance do ordinary businesses have? The BCC recognises the need for a proportionate and fair approach in dealing with illegal workers, but the current system is excessively complicated, time-consuming and, if these reports are true, all too often fallible. We believe government should review this policy and provide clearer and more practical legislation for employers, as well as developing a more proportionate response if cleaning businesses fall foul of the tough rules.”

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