A woman who lied about her immigration status in order to obtain a £15,000 student social work bursary has been allowed to remain on the register.
Patience Chimba forged a passport entry to suggest she had settled status within the UK and was therefore eligible for student finance.
But she was not legally able to work in the UK or receive state benefits at the time.
Chimba was convicted at Luton Crown Court on 15 January of one count of dishonestly making a false representation to make gain for herself and one count of possessing a false identity document.
She was sentenced to one month in prison for the first count and eight months in prison for the second, to be served concurrently.
The General Social Care Council’s presenting officer argued that she should have been banned from practising as a social worker on the basis that her behaviour had involved “significant dishonesty”.
However, Chimba attended the conduct hearing and gave a detailed account of her arrival in the UK from South Africa and subsequent application for asylum, as well as her attempts to access education and employment.
The conduct committee said it was “particularly impressed” by her evidence, adding: “The registrant spoke with compassion and understanding, which recognised her wrongdoing and displayed both remorse and insight.”
It concluded that there was a very low risk of reoccurrence, and decided to admonish her for the maximum period of five years.
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