Monday, June 27, 2005

Scam brought hundreds of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants into Britain

Tariq Tahir:

Owners of curry houses have been implicated in a scam in which hundreds of Bangladeshis are hired and and then fired, only to remain in the country as illegal immigrants, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

As the Government was forced to abandon one visa scheme that allowed semi-skilled restaurant workers into the country on a 12-month basis, this newspaper has found a five-year visa scheme covering skilled and professional workers that is also being abused.

The staff pay up to £8,000 to secure their jobs and immigration permits. Once in Britain, however, they are sacked after about five months in the post and replaced by other fee-paying immigrants.

Critics have condemned the racket and blamed lax immigration officers for failing to detect the high staff turnover.

One restaurant owner familiar with, but not involved in, the scam said: "The whole system is a joke. There are no checks done on these people when they come to Britain."

Sir Andrew Green, the chairman of the independent pressure group MigrationWatch, urged the Government to tighten its work permit controls to prevent abuses by unscrupulous employers.

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