90 arrested in illegal Olympic worker crackdown

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The Independent Online

More than 90 people have been arrested after a crackdown on unlawful working at the 2012 Olympic Games site, the UK Border Agency said today.

Officers from the UKBA, who are based permanently at the site in Stratford, east London, made 93 arrests between April and late November, 85 of which involved suspected immigration offences.

A total of 41 people were arrested after using fake passports or other false documents.

It is understood 23 people have already been removed from the UK.

The arrests will highlight protesters' claims that 2012 bosses are using cheap agency workers, often from overseas, in breach of labour agreements.

Tony Smith, senior director for the UKBA's Olympic 2012 programme, said: "The UK Border Agency has officers based permanently at the Olympic site to check the identity of people seeking work and help ensure the Games are delivered on time, with a workforce legally entitled to be there.

"We're working closely with employers and contractors, giving presentations and advising them what checks they need to make to prevent illegal working. My officers offer forgery awareness training and conduct visits to businesses to ensure that their policies and procedures are up-to-date.

"By working with other agencies we can help make the Olympics a safe and enjoyable event for all."

Of those arrested on suspicion of immigration offences, 32 were from India, 12 from Nigeria and seven from the Ukraine, the UKBA figures showed.

The rest included four from both Brazil and Kosovo, three from Moldova, and two each from Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Albania. The remaining 17 were described as "others".

A further eight people who were entitled to work in the UK were arrested for using false documents to obtain work. Three of these were British, including one journalist who was seeking to expose lax security at the site.

In May, workers held a demonstration outside the site to call for them to be employed directly rather than through agencies. The protest also pressed the case for jobs including electricians and steel erectors to be offered to workers in the local community.