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Four arrested at Costain London Bridge subcontractor

Four immigration offenders from India have been arrested after an enforcement visit to a subcontractor working on Costain’s £400m London Bridge station redevelopment.

The Home Office said that officers acting on intelligence visited the site offices of Bowercross Construction Ltd at 6.05am on Thursday 23 May, questioning whether individuals had the right to be in the country.

Three men were arrested at the site. Two, aged 27, had overstayed their visas, while a 38-year-old had entered the country illegally.

Officers then arrested a 21-year-old-man found to be working in breach of his visa conditions at an address in Church Street, Stratford.

Costain is carrying out a £400m contract to develop London Bridge Station in a five-year contract for Network Rail.

The project includes a new concourse at street level and forms a key part of the Thameslink programme.

One of the 27-year-olds and the 38-year-old were detained pending deportation.

The other two were placed on immigration bail, and must report to the Home Office while removal arrangements are made.

The Home Office has clarified that the civil penalty notice was given to a Costain employee to pass on to BCL.

It had originally stated that BCL was served with a notice warning – a claim BCL had denied – that a civil penalty of up to £30,000 will be imposed unless proof is provided that correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

The Home Office added that Costain co-operated fully with the visit and that BCL does not have offices on the site.

Costain confirmed to Construction News that it has passed on the civil penalty notice to BCL.

BCL focuses on civil works including slip form structures, bridges and water.

Home Office Immigration Enforcement team member Claire Shacklock said the body had more such operations planned in London in the future.

“Those we find working illegally face arrest and removal from the UK,” she said.

“Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.

“While we are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be done on staff, those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them and they will face heavy fines.

“I would urge members of the public with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”

Construction News spoke to a member of BCL’s staff who denied that the Home Office had visited the office and that the warning notice had been served. He said BCL will be issuing a further statement later today.

Costain declined to comment.

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