by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com
HUNDREDS of illegal immigrants, including a Filipino murder suspect and other criminals, are hiding in British care homes where they are caring for old and vulnerable people, British media reported recently. The immigration intelligence report, which was done two years ago but was just recently leaked to the media, stated that many of the illegal workers were using false names and forged identity documents to bypass police criminal records checks. Home Office ministers are turning a blind eye to the distressing information.
The situation was so bad, the report notes, that “there is potential for embarrassment if the immigration service is not seen to be actively addressing this issue”. In some care homes, more than half the employees have entered the country illegally and are now being entrusted with caring for the elderly. The newspapers stressed that one illegal worker was a murder suspect from the Philippines who had used fraudulent references to get a job at a care home in Plymouth. The name and whereabouts of the Filipino suspect were not mentioned.
“Very few of these cases are acted on,” one official said. “Ministers have turned a blind eye in the obscene interests of costs. These cases are not seen as a priority and most of them simply go to the bottom of the pile.”
The 22-page intelligence report examined 110 investigations into the employment of suspected illegal immigrants in care homes in the south and southwest of England. The report discloses that Home Office ministers had failed to tackle the problem because most of the illegal care home workers were from countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa, which were not on the priority list identifying those who should be targeted.
The document says the proliferation of untrained and unqualified illegal migrants, many with unknown backgrounds, poses a direct risk to some of the estimated 480,000 elderly and vulnerable people in the 21,000 care homes in England and Wales. It states: “If this is allowed to continue without action all have the potential to be damaging to the public and media perception of the immigration service.”
Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said controls had been tightened up since the report. “Every visa applicant is now fingerprinted before they reach here, ID cards become compulsory for all foreign nationals from November and £10,000 on-the-spot fines are now in place for any illegal workers.”