The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Immigration: Government minister denies breaking law over cleaner

The Government's former Immigration Minister Mark Harper is facing a new crisis over allegations that he may have broken immigration laws when he employed a foreign cleaner, reports the London Evening Standard.

Mr Harper is understood to have discovered last week that the Colombian cleaner he is employing does not have immigration clearance to remain permanently in the UK.

New legislation imposes a fine of up to £20,000 on employers who fail to ensure that their workers have up to date and appropriate immigration clearance.

It is understood the cleaner has worked for Mr Harper since 2007; however, he so far has been unable to produce the paperwork that he was originally shown when he employed her to support her immigration status.

After reassessing her immigration status, Mr Harper was informed by the UK Border Agency that she did not have appropriate immigration documentation and should therefore not currently be in the UK.

The Government has thus far supported Mr Harper, with the Home Secretary Theresa May speaking on BBC Radio yesterday to confirm that she did not believe he had broken the law.

The opposition believes that Mr Harper has questions to answer, however, and is seeking an inquiry into the incident.

The Home Secretary said that the law simply requires employers, and soon landlords, to check the immigration status of employees or tenants.

"What I say is that we do ask employers to make their best efforts - and we're going to be asking landlords to do that - to check the status of the people that they're employing or renting property to," she told BBC Radio.

Mr Harper resigned his post as immigration minister on Saturday; however, it is understood he may escape prosecution because the cleaner was self-employed.