UK Border Agency launch investigation into Attorney General’s illegal immigrant housekeeper.
The UK Border Agency has published an announcement on its website about Baroness Scotland’s employment of a migrant who “did not have the right to work in the United Kingdom”.
Lin Homer, Chief Executive of the UK Border Agency, said:
‘Following an investigation into alleged illegal working the UK Border Agency will be imposing a civil penalty of £5,000 on Patricia Mawhinney (Baroness Scotland) as the employer of an individual who was not legally permitted to undertake work in the United Kingdom.
‘The employer cooperated fully with the investigation, which was carried out in accordance with the Agency’s published code of practice on civil penalties for illegal working.
‘Following the investigation, the UK Border Agency is satisfied that the employer did not knowingly employ an illegal worker. The UKBA is also satisfied that the employer took steps to check documents provided to her as proof of right to work in the UK. However, the law requires that employers must keep copies of documents proving the right to work in the UK and in this instance the employer failed to meet this requirement.
‘Our priority in enforcement against employers is to identify employers who knowingly flout the rules, often on a continual basis and often on a large scale. However, under immigration law any employer found to have employed people with no right to work here can face a civil penalty.
‘A variable rate of fine can be imposed depending on the circumstances of a case. Employers who co-operate with investigations, as in this case, who have no previous record of employing people illegally, or who can show they made some effort to check the status of an employee, are not normally fined at the maximum level of £10,000.
‘In this case we have assessed the appropriate level of penalty to be £5,000. The fine is in line with the level of fines imposed on other employers.
‘This case serves to remind all employers that they are responsible not only for checking the immigration status of their staff but for retaining proof of the documents checked.
‘Where illegal workers are knowingly employed we will take action, and employers could face a criminal prosecution or a civil penalty.
‘The wider investigation is ongoing.’
In an BBC interview the Attorney General said she had been punished for a “technical error” in not photocopying her former employee’s documents, which she took on “face value”.
Immigration Matters Comment
The UK Border Agency has taken decisive action against the Government Minister and top legal adviser by imposing a £5000 civil penalty.
This sends out a clear message that no employer is safe and must carry out the proper checks on all employees – including nanny’s and house keepers working in your home.
However, if the country’s Attorney General, a Barrister and QC by profession, can make errors and fall foul of the law, what chance have ordinary employers got when working through the complex rules on employing non EU migrants?
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