In November, Britain's Home Office disclosed that about 5,000 illegal aliens were working as private security guards. Last week, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith revealed that the number is twice as bad as originally thought.
[Smith] told the Commons that 11,000 non-EU nationals who had no right to work in Britain had been licensed in the private security industry, some in sensitive posts such as guarding Whitehall departments on Metropolitan police contracts.... The new 11,000 figure is the result of checks by officials on all the 40,000 non-EU nationals licensed by the Security Industry Authority [SIA] before July 2 when the problem first became clear to the Home Office. It emerged when an immigration enforcement operation discovered 44 people working at a security company who did not have the right to work in the UK. Twelve were working on Met police contracts including guarding a car park where Tony Blair's official car was parked.
The new figure, says the Guardian, shows the extent of Great Britain's "hidden economy" where illegal migrants are hired as cheap labor. Members of Parliament (MPs) are now interested to know how many illegal aliens are working in other sectors if one-in-four of all security guards are illegal.
The Home Office, Smith told the MPs, has only revoked the security licenses of 409 illegal aliens but has sent SIA letters to more than 10,500 security guards thought to be illegal. The recipients of the letter will have 42 days to appeal the decision to revoke their licenses.
Smith continues to argue that the responsibility to check the immigration status of employees lies with private security companies and that a SIA license only confirms that the recipient has been trained and his or her criminal background has been checked.