Immigration minister resigns after illegally employing cleaner

By Sarah Lovell

Mark Harper resigned after discovering a cleaner he employed for his flat did not have permission to work in the UK. How could such a mistake have been made (especially by the minister for immigration) and how can employers avoid the same trap?

In April 2007, Mark Harper took on a cleaner, Isabella Acevedo, to work on a self-employed basis. He obtained a copy of her passport and a copy of a letter from the Home Office confirming her right to work in the UK. Mr Harper checked these documents again in 2010 and in 2012. However, it was not until he began to steer the draft Immigration Bill through Parliament in autumn 2013 that he considered checking his cleaner’s documents once more. He could not find them and asked for fresh copies.

When Mr Harper asked his officials to confirm everything was in order they returned with bad news. Ironically, the immigration minister employed a cleaner who did not have the right to live in the UK…

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