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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

Technical Sales Manager

£45000 - £53000 Per Annum plus bonus plus package: The Green Recruitment Compa...

Humanities Teacher

£110 - £135 per day + Competitive Rates: Randstad Education Maidstone: Outstan...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor