Berkeley hotel workers had false documents


The Berkeley hotel in London, part of the Savoy Group, has been forced to ask three employees to leave after discovering they were illegal immigrants. General manager Jean-Jacques Pergant said that three people working in housekeeping, from Eastern Europe, had given fake work documents. The discovery that the documents were not bona fide coincided with a visit from immigration officers last month, he said.

Last month, immigration officials raided Claridge’s hotel, also part of the Savoy Group, and took away seven illegal immigrants. Pergant said this incident, plus other immigration raids on London hotels such as the Copthorne Tara in May, after which 15 housekeepers were deported, had prompted an internal investigation.

‘We had to advise some staff that if they were unable to produce the correct documents we would have to let them go, and three left. It is a shame, we found them to be very good, reliable workers,’ said Pergant.

A Home Office spokeswoman said there were no plans to “stake out” hotels in particular, and that all raids were intelligence-led.

However, legislation currently going through Parliament will give immigration officers greater rights to enter premises without a warrant. Amendments to the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Bill will give immigration or police officers the right to raid a hotel where there are grounds for believing there are illegal workers. Under the current law, officers must have evidence that individual offenders are employed.

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