Immigration Minister resigns for employing an illegal immigrant

Immigration Minister resigns for employing an illegal immigrant

16:04 PM, 10th February 2014, About 8 years ago 25

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Mark Harper the Immigration Minister who took the Immigration Bill through Parliament in autumn 2013 has resigned for continuing to employ his cleaner when she no longer had a right to reside in the country.

The Immigration Bill which was hotly debated on Property118 requires Landlords to carry out reasonable checks and take copies of documents proving tenants have the right to reside in the UK. The Government said Landlords were not required to be experts or spot anything other than an obvious forgery.

However the Government’s own Minister has fallen foul of the very checks it is requiring Landlords to carry out. To be fair Mr Harper did initially carry out reasonable checks when his cleaner was initially employed, and it is doubtful any action would be taken against an employer or Landlord in these circumstances, but it does raise the question if Landlords have the required expertise to help police immigration when Mr Harper himself has failed.

Mark Harper’s resignation letter to the PM

“Dear Prime Minister

In April 2007 I took on a cleaner for my London flat. In doing so, I was very mindful of my legal and financial obligations and undertook a number of checks beforehand. This included consideration of the HMRC tests as to whether the cleaner was performing her work under a contract for services on a self-employed basis which I concluded she was. However, even though there was no legal requirement for me to check her right to work in the UK, I felt that it was appropriate to do so. I therefore took a copy of her passport to verify her identity and also a copy of a Home Office letter, dated 26 January 2006, which stated that she had leave to remain indefinitely in the United Kingdom, including the right to work and engage in a business.

I considered the issue again when you appointed me as a Minister in the Cabinet Office in May 2010 and concluded that as I had performed a right to work check in 2007 and that my cleaner had indefinite leave to remain in the UK no further check was necessary. When you then appointed me as Immigration Minister in September 2012 I went through a similar consideration process and once again concluded that no further check was necessary. In retrospect, I should have checked more thoroughly.

As I took the Immigration Bill through Parliament in autumn 2013 I talked a lot about these matters in the context both of employers and landlords. What we do, and will, require of both is that they carry out reasonable checks and take copies of documents. We do not require them to be experts or spot anything other than an obvious forgery. Given this focus on these matters, I thought it prudent to check that all my documents were in order for my cleaner. I undertook an extensive search to locate the copies of documents I had taken but unfortunately I was unable to locate them.

As a result, in the week commencing 20 January 2014 I asked my cleaner for further copies of these documents which she provided on 4 February. On 5 February, I asked my private office to check the details with immigration officials to confirm that all was in order. I was informed on the morning of 6 February that my cleaner did not in fact have indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom. I immediately notified the Home Secretary and my Permanent Secretary. This is now a matter for Immigration Enforcement.

Although I complied with the law at all times, I consider that as Immigration Minister, who is taking legislation through Parliament which will toughen up our immigration laws, I should hold myself to a higher standard than expected of others. I have also considered the impact on my Parliamentary colleagues, the Government and you. I have always believed that politics is a team game, not an individual sport. Under the circumstances, I have therefore decided that the right course is for me to return to the Backbenches. I am sorry for any embarrassment caused.

I am grateful for the opportunities you have given me since you became Leader of the Conservative Party, first in Opposition and then in Government. I will continue to support you as Prime Minister, the Conservative Party and this Government in whatever way I can from the backbenches. I will also continue to serve my constituents in the Forest of Dean to the best of my ability.

Yours ever,

MarkImmigration Minister resigns


by Mark Alexander

8:17 AM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Gary Nock" at "11/02/2014 - 08:11":

Maybe we should pitch for the business? LOL

by Romain Garcin

8:22 AM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jeremy Smith" at "10/02/2014 - 23:21":

In principle you cannot know who's British and who's not until you've seen passports...
Re. work permits, I don't think that it is proposed that landlords check that.

by Mark Alexander

8:44 AM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "11/02/2014 - 08:04":

Thinking this through further, this could be the ultimate tool for the PRS and the authorities as it could also be linked to the main credit referencing agencies and Councils, Police, CAB, insurance companies and utility companies could also plug into it too.

Just imagine, whenever a tenant does a midnight flit all affected parties being immediately notified of the tenants new address and/or where they are applying to new landlords!

It would also make for a superb tracing tool.

There would even be opportunities to roll it out to all employers and benefits offices.
Savings to the tax payer could be absolutely enormous!

Not only could this help solve immigration issues, it could also help to reduce other crime such as fraud as well as various debt related issues.

by Press Office

10:14 AM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Richard Lambert, NLA CEO, said:

“Landlords are rightly nervous about having the responsibility for verifying an individual’s right to remain within the UK thrust upon them, and this unfortunate situation demonstrates exactly why that is. Whether Mark Harper would or would not have fallen foul of his own policy, he is right to say that, as the Immigration Minister, he should hold himself to a higher standard.

“If he could not reach the right conclusion on an individual’s immigration status, even after months immersed in the detail, what chance do landlords have of getting it right, especially when they’ll need to verify their tenants’ status regularly? You simply couldn’t make it up.

“The NLA said from the start that the system must be simple, straightforward and easy for landlords to use and understand. The Government must look again at what it is asking and give some serious reassurance to landlords across the UK that they won’t be punitively penalised should they find themselves in a similar situation of doing almost nothing wrong."

by Jeremy Smith

18:24 PM, 11th February 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mark Alexander" at "11/02/2014 - 08:17":

Well Mark,
the government put their contracts out for quotes - Why not ?? !!

Basically you need an all encompassing database of people, haven't the US got that now already?, whether they admit it or not!
- We have for all UK citizens, ie NI and National Health numbers.

Everyone coming in gets put on this 'list', as you say, with all necessary details.
If you are not on the list, then you must have got in illegally.

- I believe there's some 'extra' ones as well! - I heard that some people, ???, register their newly born with more than one council/health authority, since they are not born at hospital, they can therefore claim benefits for ALL of them as they grow up !!

From a previous post "to create an automated intelligence system."
...It'd beat the human lot hands down !!!!

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