Churchill employee dismissed over immigration status

Victoria Akinsowon 13 February 2014

A foreign national has been found to be working illegally at Churchill College. Wassil Bouarfa, born in Algeria, had used a forged French passport to obtain employment as a kitchen porter and bar worker at the college in 2012. He was jailed last month following a tip off to the college.

In response to the discovery, Jennifer Brook, the bursar of Churchill College, told The Cambridge Student: “The employee had a (very good) fake passport for an EU country.  There are guidelines from the Border Agency which have to be complied with for all new employees.

“We did these (checking passport and retaining a copy and seeking a declaration of right to work from the employee) and we were informed after the discovery that he was an illegal immigrant that there was nothing more we could have done.”
The news follows the government’s attempts to introduce a controversial Immigration Bill which aims to “make it more difficult for illegal migrants to live and work in the UK”. Under the bill, employers will be held accountable for ensuring the immigration status of their employees.

A spokesperson for the University told TCS: “The recruiting department/institution is responsible for ensuring that evidence of right to work is checked and that a copy is taken before the individual starts work. An employment contract is only issued if there is evidence of right to work.”

A third year law student at Trinity said: “I think … the case shows … that it is often near impossible to verify the background of employees – especially at such a large university which employs so many people.

“The … case of [Mark] Harper and his cleaner shows that even government ministers don’t necessarily know who they’re employing.”

Last week Immigration Minister, Mark Harper, resigned after it was revealed he had unknowingly employed an illegal immigrant as a cleaner.