According to the Yorkshire Post, 10 members of staff at Leeds Professional College were arrested on 4th December 2012 on suspicion of immigration offences.

Adrian Watkins of the UK Border Agency’s (UKBA) financial and criminal investigation unit told the Yorkshire Post that the arrests related to students failing to attend classes, working illegally or disappearing.

Leeds Professional College was listed as a Highly Trusted Sponsor on the UKBA’s register of sponsors. It is likely that this status and the licence will be revoked but as at todays’ date, Leeds Professional College is still listed as a Highly Trust Sponsor by the UKBA.

It is not clear which offences the UKBA are considering in relation to the 10 members of staff at Leeds Professional College. However, the main immigration offences which employers should be aware of are listed below:

Section 21 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 makes it a criminal offence for employers to knowingly employ a person over the age of 16, who is subject to immigration control and

  • Has not been granted leave to enter or remain in the UK.

Or

  • The person’s leave to enter or remain in the UK is invalid, ceased to have effect or is subject to a condition preventing the person from taking employment.

Section 15 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 makes the section 21 offence above a civil offence if the employer did not have knowledge that the person they were employing did not have the right to work in the UK. The penalty is a maximum of £10,000 per illegal worker found and the UKBA have issued many such fines in the last year. Details of fines issued can be found by clicking on the following links:

Section 26(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1971 makes it a criminal offence to make a false statement to an Immigration Officer.

Section 91(1) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 makes it a criminal offence to provide immigration advice or services in contravention of section 84 of the same act. Section 84 states no person may provide immigration advice or immigration services unless he is a qualified person or is exempt from the requirement to be a qualified person.

If you would like to read more about the above legislation and the specific sections, you can find them at www.legislation.gov.uk.