Immigration official suspended for ‘whistleblowing’
An official who claimed that some immigration applications for UK residency were secretly fast-tracked has been suspended.
Steve Moxon, from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, has been temporarily suspended from his job pending an investigation by the Home Office.
The ‘whistleblower’ told the Sunday Times that his unit had been told to waive key checks on applications from certain nationals of the 10 states due to join the European Union on May 1st, in order to speed up the system.
The 48-year-old suggested that processes were changed in an attempt to manipulate figures on eastern European migrants amid concerns of an influx of migrant workers when the EU expands this year.
A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed Mr Moxon’s suspension and added: “We cannot comment further on internal staffing issues.”
Mr Moxon told the newspaper that he suspected the scheme, the European Community Association Agreement, codenamed Brace, was a bid to rush as many immigrants as possible through the system by May 1st to minimise numbers after expansion.
Mr Moxon was reportedly a junior official working in Sheffield. He claimed that he went public with his concerns after complaints to bosses were ignored.
He stated that regulations covering immigration applications by self-employed businessmen had been relaxed so that all that was required was a brief business plan, often as little as a page long and sometimes copied from another applicant.
Immigration minister, Beverley Hughes, has denied any special scheme had been authorised and has launched an internal inquiry into Mr Moxon’s claims.
The government predicts that around 13,000 people will come to the UK from the 10 new EU member states to look for work. However, critics, including the Conservative Party, have suggested that the figure could be much higher.
The Home Office has announced that there will be a statement to MPs and shadow home secretary David Davis will ask a question in the House of Commons at 15:30 GMT today about the claims, which will be answered by Ms Hughes.
Mr Davis said: “I find it inconceivable that the home secretary does not know this is going on under his nose. If he doesn’t, it is quite clear he has lost control over his own department. If he does, then he has deceived the British public and Parliament.”