Huhne: “Policy must be about delivery rather than mere words" 10th February 2009: Out of the 3,275 illegal immigrants who were cleared to work by the Security Industry Authority using a false name, or giving other false details, 13 have been prosecuted for criminal offences. At least 35 have been removed so far.
The Government admitted in November 2007 that thousands of people cleared by officials to work in the security industry were working in the country illegally, with one of them guarding the Prime Minister’s car.
In a written reply to Tory MP James Clappison, Immigration Minister Phil Woolas yesterday said that the number “is subject to change and should be treated as provisional.”
He also observed that “Premature release of information relating to the introduction of right to work checks within the security industry was likely to have forewarned potential targets of our investigation into illegal working and compromise the UK Border Agency’s opportunity to mount targeted, intelligence led removal operations. Nevertheless the UK Border Agency carried out an extensive programme of visits to workplaces and home addresses during the course of its subsequent investigation.”
Mr. Woolas reminded the MPs that this month they introduced “a tough new system of heavy financial penalties for employers found to be employing illegal migrant workers, making it progressively more difficult for illegal immigrants to remain in the United Kingdom. As a result of this—and the publicity surrounding action taken to revoke these licences—we believe that many more individuals will have left the country voluntarily at no cost to the UK taxpayer.”
Commenting on Mr. Woolas’ reports that only a handful of the thousands of illegal immigrants granted clearance to work as security guards have been deported, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Chris Huhne said: "This is just another instance of the Government’s abject failure to get a grip of illegal immigration. Ministers have not grasped that policy must be about delivery rather than mere words."
The shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said: “This sends a terrible message around the world about the willingness, or lack of it, of this Government to police our borders and control the flow of migrant workers into the country.
“They know who these people are, where they were working, and that they are here illegally. A year later virtually nothing has been done about it. It’s an absolute disgrace, and a clear indicator of just how ineffective the Home Secretary is.”