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House of Commons Commission

Volume 447: debated on Monday 12 June 2006

The hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission was asked—

House Staff

The Department of Finance and Administration carries out checks on the immigration status of all candidates at the interview stage of the recruitment process for prospective employees. Candidates must provide original evidence of their eligibility to work in the UK based on a limited list of acceptable documents, which follows Home Office guidelines.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that answer, but there has been some regrettable publicity surrounding the Home Office and the way in which it has recruited illegal immigrants, often to work as civil servants. As I wander around the House early in the morning, I discover people from Francophone Africa, working for contractors—[Interruption.] I come into work very early. They are working for contractors to clean the offices, which they do perfectly well, but I suggest that it would be very embarrassing if they were found to be illegal immigrants. I trust that such people will be investigated.

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not jumping to any conclusions about people’s immigration status simply because he encounters them working in the House. The contractors and agencies that supply temporary staff are responsible for checking the immigration status of staff and guidance has been given about how to do so. They have to sign a declaration to confirm that they have carried out the necessary checks and they have to provide the relevant documentation. The hon. Gentleman should therefore rest easy, as the proper checks are in place.