More than 800 arrests made; over £500,000 cash seized 18th November 2010: Since July, more than 400 operations have been carried out across the country to check immigration crime. In all, the operations have resulted in more than 800 arrests. Over £500,000 cash has been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA). Many of these investigations are ongoing.
The assertion by the UK Border Agency came after an Indian woman was arrested for working illegally at a care home in Eastbourne.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited Ashley Gardens Care Home on Willoughby Crescent, accompanied by officials from the NHS, East Sussex County Council and the Care Quality Commission.
The identity of each employee on duty was checked against immigration databases and staff records were verified.
Officers discovered that a 27 year-old cleaner, in the UK legitimately as a student, was working more hours than her visa permitted.
The primary purpose of a student visa is to allow foreign nationals to study in the UK and only allows for part-time work.
Steps are now being taken to deport the woman to India.
The care home faces a fine of up to £10,000, if it is unable to prove that the necessary pre-employment checks were carried out.
Bendigo Nursing Home, on Arundel Road, was also visited, although no arrests were made.
Both homes are operated by the same management company.
East Sussex County Council, NHS East Sussex Downs and Weald, and the Care Quality Commission are now reviewing the standard of care at the homes.
Jim Moore, the UK Border Agency officer in charge of the operation, said: ‘Employers have a legal responsibility to ensure their staff is entitled to work in the UK. Those who fail to carry out basic pre-employment checks can face hefty fines of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
‘Bosses who deliberately breach immigration law will be prosecuted.
‘Illegal immigration puts huge pressure on public services at a time when the country can least afford it.’
The visit was carried out in plain clothes to minimise distress to the residents and was part of an ongoing UK-wide crackdown by the agency to tackle immigration crime.