23 December 2014

The Home Office has on several occasions said that it does not expect employers to act as unpaid immigration officers, but a recent prosecution has made clear the difficult task that companies face when trying to verify if someone has a right to work in the UK.

The National Crime Agency has publicised a case involving two men living in a north London flat which the NCA described as a forgery factory.

Arsene Meci, an Albanian national, used the premises to manufacture fake driving licences, national identity cards, passports and construction and security certification cards which broker Medi Krasniqi, a British national of Albanian descent, then sold.

They charged clients between £80 and £500 for made-to-order documents, depending on what was required.

When the men were arrested, NCA officers discovered computers, laminators and professional printing equipment, along with a number of photos, blank cards and fake passports ready to be made up.

Examination of the computers revealed they contained more than eight thousand images and templates for driving licences, identity cards, passports and cards entitling the bearer to work in the construction and security industries.

Carl Eade, senior investigating officer from the NCA, explained that the thousands of passports, identity cards and other documents the men were creating and selling were used to help people obtain work or services to which they were not entitled.

"Worryingly there is a safety element here too," he went on. "One of the forms of ID they specialised in was certification to work in the construction industry. We have no way of knowing whether their clients were actually qualified to do the jobs they were then able to apply for."

From Paul Clarke, business writer for Croner