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Crackdown on illegal working in the construction industry: three men jailed

2-minute read

Anna Delves

20 June 2016

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Last month three men who provided jobs for over 180 illegal construction workers were jailed for a total of seventeen and a half years. This follows the Home Office's campaign "to root out illegal working in the construction industry", launched last year.

Jail for the family that created false documents

Baljit Rai and his two sons, Mandeep Rai and Daljit Rai, from Littleover, Derby, were jailed last month for supplying illegal workers to companies and sites throughout the country.

The family made hundreds of thousands of pounds through the scheme, after Mandeep, who the court was told was the “driving force”, created false documents for the illegal workers he was seeking employment for.

All three were found guilty of conspiring to facilitate breaches of UK immigration law by non-EU nationals between 2008 and 2014. Mandeep was sentenced to seven and a half years, while Baljit and Daljit were sentenced to five years each.

The Home Office campaign

The case of the Rai family isn’t the first to come to light this year. Last October the Home Office launched ‘Operation Magnify’ to target construction sites employing illegal migrant workers.

It has already been hailed as a success, with the Home Office seeking to deport 257 illegal construction workers by mid January of this year. Of those detained, 119 had overstayed their visas, 127 did not have a visa at all and the remaining 11 were arrested for other immigration offences.

But the Operation Magnify crackdown clearly wasn’t enough to put everyone off, as a rather embarrassing turn of events took place in April when illegal construction workers were found working on the new £212m Berwyn Prison in Wrexham.

Keeping your construction site compliant

Given how pervasive the problem of illegal construction workers seems to be, it’s best to take measures to keep you and your site the right side of the law. It’s mandatory for employers to check the ‘right to work’ documents of anyone they employ - you can find more details on the ‘right to work’ section of the government’s website.

The CITB also has a page where you can find out whether someone’s CSCS, CPCS or other certification card is a counterfeit by supplying the card number and a few other details.

What do you think about Operation Magnify, and is illegal working still a big problem in the construction industry? Tell us in the comments.

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