9:00am Monday 21st January 2013
By Dolores Cowburn
More than 200 raids have taken place in Bradford by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in the last three years at factories, restaurants, nursing homes and car washes where workers were thought to be employed illegally.
Those arrested included NHS Hospital staff, along with workers in offices and petrol stations, factories and private nursing or care homes.
Information obtained by the Telegraph & Argus under the Freedom of Information Act showed that from October, 2009, to September, 2012, 254 raids were carried out resulting in 217 arrests. The amount of deportations has not been revealed, or the amount of prosecutions, and the UKBA would not exactly say where the raids were carried out.
From October, 2009, to September 2011, 47 home visits were made, four visits involving hospital staff, seven at private nursing and care homes, 62 at restaurants and takeaways and 35 were at small shops or supermarkets.
A statement by Robert Arnott, the director of Performance and Compliance at the UKBA, said that disclosing where the raids took place could lead to employers withdrawing their co-operation.
He said: “Not all employers who employ people without the right to work do so deliberately, eg when workers have presented fake documentation, therefore we need to ensure that employers feel able to report their concerns to us in confidence without fearing that their details will be placed in the public domain.
“Without this co-operation it would reduce the number of illegal workers apprehended.
“Illegal working enforcement visits can be as a result of allegations made by the public, from other Government departments, private companies, employers and intelligence gathered during the course of other enforcement activity. The UKBA analyses all intelligence received as to whether there are grounds to commence a proactive, illegal working enforcement visit, based on the seriousness of the intelligence and current operational priorities, nationally, regionally and locally.”
The latest figures come after the T&A exclusively revealed last month that five Bradford businesses owing £28,750 in fines were named and shamed by the UKBA which then revealed that 70 raids have taken place across the district resulting in 69 arrests from October, 2011, to September, 2012.
They included 70 enforcement visits including at the Steak Out Grill House, in Sticker Lane, Bradford, Ahmed Halal Meat, on Lilycroft Road, Chicking, on Manningham Lane, Dhoom Design, on White Abbey Road, and Kash Takeaway, on Leeds Road. From October, 2009, to September, 2010, there were 101 enforcement visits, resulting in 93 arrests, and from October 2010 to September 2011 there were 83 visits with 55 arrests.
Anyone who suspects illegal workers are being employed at a business can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit the UKBA at ukba. homeoffice. gov. uk/ aboutus/contact/report-crime.
In 2011 the agency served 1,100 penalty notices on employers, collecting £7 million in fines – up £600,000 on the previous year.
A Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said: “We can confirm there have been no hospital raids at the Foundation Trust.
“We carry out rigorous ID and right-to-work checks in line with NHS employers checking standards and border agency guidelines.
“The Border Agency confirmed our status as an A-Rated sponsor in December 2012.”
A spokesman for the Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said it fully complied with all NHS employment check standards in the appointment and ongoing employment of all individuals it employed.
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