Shropshire Star

Home Office worker arrested after claim of money request for residency approval

An asylum seeking living in Northern Ireland said they were asked for £2,000 for a ‘positive decision’.

Government building stock

A Home Office worker has been arrested on suspicion of asking for money to grant UK residency to an asylum seeker living in Northern Ireland.

The BBC reported that the official is alleged to have contacted a vulnerable man and asked for £2,000 in return for approving his refugee application.

Lancashire Police confirmed they have arrested a man on suspicion of misconduct in public office, while the Home Office confirmed a member of staff was arrested, and has been suspended.

The intended victim told the BBC that he was contacted by a Home Office decision maker based in the north of England in March.

They alleged that while waiting for an outcome for their application for UK residency, they were asked for £2,000 for a “positive decision”.

Sinead Marmion, an immigration lawyer with Phoenix Law in Belfast, said it was “an exceptionally unusual situation”, and praised her client for raising the issue.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said officers from Lancashire Constabulary alongside partners from the Home Office arrested the man, aged in his in his 30s, in the Ramsgreave area of Blackburn on March 19.

“He was also arrested on suspicion of money laundering, bribery, and computer misuse offences,” they said.

“He has been bailed pending further inquiries.

“An investigation remains in its early stages and inquiries are ongoing.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”

Meanwhile, a Home Office spokesperson said: “We expect the highest standards from our staff to ensure asylum claims are properly considered, decisions are sound and that protection is granted to those who genuinely need it.

“The member of staff was arrested and suspended. It would be inappropriate to comment further as the matter is subject to a live police investigation.”

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