Care home providers will be the target of police raids in a bid to crackdown on the employment of illegal immigrants, the government has warned.
Immigration minister James Brokenshire said ‘rogue employers’ who give jobs to illegal migrants are denying work to UK citizens and legal migrants and helping to drive down wages.
“Experience tells us that employers who are prepared to cheat employment rules are also likely to breach health and safety rules and pay insufficient tax,” he said.
“Our new approach will be to use the full force of government machinery to hit them from all angles and take away the unfair advantage enjoyed by those who employ illegal migrants.”
A Home Office spokesperson confirmed Brokenshire’s comments to The Times newspaper that the care sector would be targeted, alongside the cleaning and construction industries, by a round of police raids and checks in the autumn.
But Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, which represents small care home providers, said raids on a care home setting could not be justified.
“We’re talking about a care home for elderly people,” she said. “The government should remember that these are chosen residences of individuals who are vulnerable and can no longer live alone.”
“If we do have this problem [in the sector] then we must eradicate it – it is breaking the law, there is no excuse for it and we have to make sure that it is not happening. But there is a big difference between a justified investigation and a raid.”
Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, said he did not believe the employment of illegal immigrants was a “widespread problem” in the care sector.
“The government should stop looking at everything from the point of view of ‘what’s happening’ and start thinking about what’s causing this,” he said.
“I don’t believe there are a lot of care providers that are using illegal staff but if they are it is because local authorities are paying for residential care to the tune of £2.80 per hour.”