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UK authorities have arrested Home Office employees for selling residency permits to asylum seekers.

UK Home Office staff

A Home Office case worker has been arrested on suspicion of attempting to sell UK residency to an asylum seeker in Northern Ireland, according to BBC reports.

The case worker allegedly contacted a vulnerable man, asking for £2,000 in exchange for approving his refugee application. The attempt involved using sensitive Home Office records, and the worker has since been suspended.

The Home Office stated that it holds its staff to high standards but declined to comment further due to the ongoing police investigation.

Stephen Kinnock, Labour’s Shadow Immigration Minister, called the allegations “deeply concerning” and criticized the Conservative government for “losing control” of the asylum system.

The intended victim, known as Renas to protect his identity, spoke to BBC News Northern Ireland. He explained how the worker, employed as an asylum decision maker in northern England, contacted him and suggested a direct payment would guarantee success.

Renas recorded a video call with the decision maker, which he passed to the police and shared with the BBC. The footage shows the decision maker using official Home Office software with case files.

Renas raised concerns with his solicitor, who alerted the authorities. Lancashire Police confirmed the arrest of the case worker in Blackburn, suspecting misconduct in public office, money laundering, bribery, and computer misuse.

It is uncertain how many others were targeted or whether anyone paid for residency. However, Renas has since been assured his refugee status is secure.

Immigration solicitor Sinead Marmion described the decision maker’s actions as “egregious” and praised Renas for his bravery in coming forward. Marmion also noted the impact of hiring inexperienced staff for handling asylum claims.

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The Home Office reiterated its expectations for high standards in its staff and stated the member of staff was arrested and suspended. Further comments were not provided due to the live investigation.