Monday, February 2, 2009

One in 20 construction workers on Olympics site last year were illegal

Some 136 illegal construction workers were arrested on the Olympics site duing 2008, according to figures obtained by the Conservative Party.

In an answer to a written parliamentary question, the Tories found that between April and December 2008, 136 illegal immigrants were caught working on the site.

Of these, 16 have since been prosecuted, 11 removed from the UK, 19 granted leave to remain, and 90 were either awaiting a decision, or awaiting travel documents before being removed from the UK.

"People who work on the Olympics ought to be rigorously checked but more than a hundred illegal immigrants have slipped through the net," said shadow Immigration minister Damian Green.

"We should be worried by the security implications of this as well as this new evidence that all the Government's tough talk on immigration controls is so much hot air."


One in 20 construction workers on Olympics site last year were illegal


Meanwhile, an investigation by The Independent has found that 200 Romanian workers were axed from the Olympics construction project in the past two months, during a clampdown on illegal foreign labour.

The workers had been claiming to be self-employed, to dodge restrictions on employing foreign labour, but the UK Borders Agency ruled they were full-time employees of construction firms . The agency warned both workers and their employers would receive heavy fines if they stayed on the Olympics site.

Until last year, Romanians made up 6% of the Olympic site workforce, The Independent claimed.

After joining the EU in 2006, Romanian and Bulgarian were not given the same right as other EU citizens to work in the UK.

However, a loophole gave them the right to start their own businesses in the UK, and the Romanians on the Olympic site claimed they qualified to work there as they were self employed.

However, self-employed workers were banned from the site under an agreement signed late in 2007, after Ucatt warned that their presence would encourage use of illegal foreign workers on the site, and could lead to strikes.

The union claims that the agreement is now being enforced, and general secretary, Alan Ritchie, praised the Olympics site as "one of the best regulated construction sites in Britain".

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