Immigration probe launched over illegal town bus driver

IPSWICH: The town’s main bus company is today under investigation by the UK border agency after it was discovered one of its drivers had been working illegally.

The Sri Lankan driver had been employed by Ipswich Buses for about four years before he left the company a few weeks ago.

When he applied for a job with another company it was discovered that his work permit had run out, and this prompted the investigation by the UK Border Agency.

The maximum fine that can be levied against a company which employs illegal workers is �10,000 – but Ipswich Buses managing director Malcolm Robson said: “That is a maximum fine if you have more than three illegal workers and don’t co-operate. We are co-operating fully with the Agency and hope that this is dealt with by a stiff letter telling us to ensure our procedures are tightened up.”

He stressed that the driver had had all his papers in order when he began work with them. After discovering the problem, the company is to tighten up on its checks.

Mr Robson said: “We check the driving licences of all our drivers every six months. Now we will check their passports, visas if necessary, or birth certificates of those who are British and don’t have a passport.

“We have four non-British members of staff out of 180 employees. Two of those are EU citizens (who have the same employment rights as British workers) and we have two Americans.

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“Their papers are all in order and we will now be checking every six months to ensure this kind of thing never happens again.”

The Sri Lankan driver lives in Ipswich with his wife and two children. Mr Robson did not know if there were any moves under way to deport him.

n Is it right to take action against firms who employ workers without a visa? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail