The bulk of initial intelligence comes from around 50,000 “allegations” per year from “members of the public”. Most tip-offs that actually lead to raids are classed as low grade “uncorroborated” information from “untested sources”. 12 times more men than women are arrested in workplace raids; people from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India make up 75% of those arrested. Restaurants and takeaways are the main types of businesses hit. Immigration Officers seek to follow up tip-offs by contacting employers and asking them to collaborate ahead of raids. This collaboration may include: handing over staff lists; handing over personal details including home addresses, which are then raided; helping arrange “arrests by appointment”, as in Byron’s case and also mentioned in the leaked “Operation Centurion” files. Besides Byron, high profile cases of employer-supported raids have included cleaning contractors Amey and ISS (working for SOAS university), and food delivery service Deliveroo in June 2016. In these three cases, raids occurred while companies were involved in disputes with workers and unions. In general, employers are not legally obliged to co-operate in these ways: they can give or withhold “consent”. However, in practice, businesses complain that Immigration Officers often do not give the impression that co-operation is voluntary. The main pressure for co-operation is not legal but financial. Businesses are liable for a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found – although only if it was “readily apparent” that workers had no “right to work”, e.g., their documents were obviously fake. But this can be reduced by £5,000 for general “co-operation”, plus another £5,000 for “reporting” workers. A December 2015 report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration found that officers had warrants in only 43% of raids. In most cases, they claim that business managers grant “informed consent” to enter – but there is no documentation to support this. Officers also claim that they act with “consent” in routinely rounding up and questioning people who are not named suspects. But the Chief Inspector found: “in the 184 files we sampled there was no record of anyone being ‘invited’ to answer ‘consensual questions’” (…) We can also see that, as senior Home Office managers are themselves well aware, this system of suspicion and intimidation has no actual hope of “ending illegal working”. But it works very well at creating a climate of fear and division, which serves politicians to mobilise racist panic and employers to exploit workers.
Corporate Watch in Snitches, Stings & Leaks: how Immigration Enforcement works (Corporatewatch.org)