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It's official: working is a crime

Disillusioned kid | 05.04.2008 16:36 | Migration

An asylum seeker living in the Meadows has been jailed for eight months and faces deportation to Iraq after forging a registration card in order to secure work.

Right to work
Right to work

Baktial Omar is a "failed asylum seeker" from Iraqi Kurdistan. he fled Iraq and came to the UK in 2000 where he applied for asylum. His application was turned down by the authorities and a later appeal was rejected.

Local rag The Evening Post reports that Omar was given an "asylum registration card" while his application was underway. Presumably they mean the Applicant Registration Cards (ARC) which have been issued to asylum seekers since 2002. Bearing the holder's photograph and fingerprints these are essentially an ID card for asylum seekers and in all likelihood a prototype for the cards the government would like to issue to everyone.

This card was originally printed with the words "work prohibited," but Omar was able to have a friend change it to "work permitted." He used this card to secure work with Staffline Recruitment between May 2006 and September 2007. He then used to to secure employment with Meridian Business Support, but left after only a month.

The Post reports that "Omar was eventually caught after police visited his house," but doesn't really explain why they did so. Whatever the reason, Omar appeared before Nottingham Magistrates Court last week and pleaded guilty to obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception as well using a false instrument to gain work.

Despite the much publicised concerns about prison overcrowding, magistrates gave Omar consecutive four-month jail sentences for the two occasions when he secured employment with the doctored card. Not happy with locking him away for eight months they also recommended the Home Office deport him to Iraq. Alyson Turner, chair of the bench opined, "These were serious offences. They were deliberate and premeditated. If you are not deported after your sentence and your situation has not been resolved then you are likely to commit similar offences because of your personal circumstances."

Neil O'Sullivan for the defence pointed out that Omar wanted to work to support his mother and two sisters who remained in Iraq. His father having been murdered there in April 2006, presumable caught up in the violence which has engulfed the country following the Anglo-American invasion in 2003. "This is not a case where we are talking of forged passports or false travel documents," Sullivan said. Even Elaine Oldham, prosecuting, argued that Omar was working to get more money, hardly an unusual motivation of entering the labour market.

Links: No Borders Nottingham | Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum | Nottingham Refugee Campaign Group | Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq

Disillusioned kid


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  1. Let Baktial Omar stay& bring the troops home — green syndicalist