LONDON: Six arrests have been made as part of a Home Office investigation into illegal working in the care sector.
Home Office Immigration Enforcement teams executed six warrants at properties on Alma Road, Southampton in a pre-dawn visit last Wednesday.
Immigration officers arrested six men and women of Botswanan and Zimbabwean origin on suspicion of immigration offences.
None of the suspects had permission to work in the UK. Four of those arrested are believed to be working within the care industry.
The suspects, aged between 30 and 55, were questioned. Three suspects have since been detained pending removal from the UK, while one agreed to leave the UK under the Voluntary Return Service (VRS). The VRS supports people in the UK without status, or those claiming asylum, who would like to return home voluntarily.
One person was detained by Immigration Enforcement for document offences. Another person was detained but later released on immigration bail.
The visit took place under Operation Brycem, a Home Office led investigation into illegal working in the care sector.
South Central Immigration Enforcement Assistant Director, Matt Wilkinson said:
These arrests have prevented those without employment rights in the UK from working with vulnerable people, and ensured that people abusing our immigration laws are brought to justice.
The success of this operation shows that we will stop at nothing to protect the vulnerable within our communities and take firm action against those who are profiting from exploitation.
All employers in the UK have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. Employers can be jailed for five years and pay an unlimited fine if they are found guilty of employing someone they knew or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ did not have the right to work in the UK.
Medical professionals can apply for a Health and Care Worker visa to allow them to work in the UK legally with the NHS, an NHS supplier or in adult social care.
Our Nationality and Borders Act will ensure the system is fair to those in genuine need and firm on those who seek to abuse it.