The government is to check the immigration status of 40,000 staff cleared to work in the security industry following revelations that thousands were employed illegally.
About 5,000 illegal immigrants were mistakenly cleared to work as security staff, the Home Office has confirmed.
Some of those wrongly given licences by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) ended up working for the Metropolitan Police. Others reportedly found jobs in Whitehall and at ports and airports, according to the Sunday Mirror.
The Met Police said it had employed people through a contractor who were later revealed as suspected illegal immigrants.
Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said the Home Office was “still not fit for purpose” after it previously emerged last year the department was employing illegal immigrants as cleaners.
The SIA was set up by the Home Office to regulate the security industry and began issuing licences in 2004. It reports directly to the department, and has so far cleared around 250,000 applicants.
Both the government and the SIA have insisted it is employers’ responsibility to check whether staff are entitled to work in the country.
Andy Drane, deputy chief executive of the SIA, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The employer is responsible for ensuring that anyone it employs has a legal right to work in the UK.”