Immigration officials raid office of upmarket lifestyle magazine

Monocle's publisher, Tyler Brûlé, described the 'extraordinary' scenes as officers checked the visas of staff

It is an international magazine known for its coverage of cutting-edge fashion and interior design, with a large dose of foreign affairs for its upmarket readers. But the calm of Monocle magazine’s minimalist offices in a prestigious London address was disturbed recently by the unannounced arrival of three immigration officers looking for illegal workers, according to its publisher.

Tyler Brûlé spoke of the “extraordinary” scenes when the officers told staff at the magazine, which employs 140 people in the UK, that they needed to check their visas.

He joked that the officers must have suspected the magazine of smuggling staff in through a secret tunnel.

The Home Office said it had no record of the incident, which Mr Brûlé said happened last month at its offices near Oxford Street.

But civil liberties groups said the tactic was further evidence of Border Force officials taking tougher action away from ports and airports to combat illegal immigration.

Mr Brûlé said: “We have of course applied for a number of visas, everything is very legit. But they must obviously think we have some secret tunnel under the building where we bring in other workers from overseas. What happens is they come into the building, three officers, they say they want to check everyone’s visas and they send everybody home. We have 140 people in our offices in London.”

He told the Edelman Crystal Ball Breakfast, a forecasting event: “I thought this could be some kind of positioning exercise, that someone goes back to the Home Office and says: ‘At least we did that, we ticked that part of W1 [postcode].”

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said such raids were happening more frequently. “Try running a restaurant to find out what’s happening,” she told the same event. “This is quite new and it’s probably going to get worse in the run-up to the election.”

She claimed it was part of a “really nasty” new tactic which amounted to “bringing border controls to the streets”.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We have looked into this … there is nothing on our system about an immigration raid on this address whatsoever.” He said Border Force officers would not send employees home to produce their visas.

Mr Brûlé declined later to provide more information about the episode. However, two other magazine staff members confirmed it had taken place. One said: “A lot of the team were in the office when [the officers] arrived.”

The reported raid follows the storm over a Home Office van which toured inner London boroughs in the summer bearing an advert that urged illegal immigrants to “go home”, and spot-checks by border force officers at railways stations in areas with high ethnic minority populations.

In October all the businesses in London’s Chinatown shut and staff walked out in protest over a series of recent raids.

Mr Brûlé, a Canadian entrepreneur who also founded Wallpaper* magazine, launched Monocle in 2007. It has bureaux in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York and Toronto, as well in Marylebone, London.

* Mark Harper, the Immigration minister, has hit back at Lance Batchelor, the chief executive of Domino’s Pizza, who said he had hire outside Europe to fill posts.

“He should probably pay his staff a little more and he might find them easier to recruit,” Mr Harper told MPs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own