Coronavirus: Employer’s resource centre — live guidance available here

Border guard sacked for branding wife a terror suspect

BY Daniel Gorry
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

An immigration officer has been sacked by the UK Border Agency after putting his wife wife on a terrorist watch list  to prevent her being allowed to re-enter the UK after a holiday in Pakistan.

When she went to the airport to get her return flight back, officials kept her off the aircraft, but refused to explain the reason for their decision. She was forced to remain in the country for three years, despite her husband’s promises to sort things out. When her husband’s employers discovered what he had done, they dismissed him. 

A specialist immigration solicitor told LAWmail that he had never heard of such an extraordinary case before. “A lot of my work involves trying to get permission for UK residents to bring their relatives into the country, but I’ve never heard of someone using the system to try to keep someone out. 

“It really does take marital breakdown into uncharted waters. Obviously some people murder their partners, but branding them as potential terrorists is extremely creative.” 

It is understood that the immigration worker was employed in a specialist unit which puts terror and criminal suspects on the watch list of people “not conducive to the public good”. All he had to do was add his wife to the database as a potential suspect.

His action was discovered when he went through a strict vetting process for a promoted post. When he was asked why his wife was on the watch list he admitted what he had done, and was swiftly dismissed.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said the organisation expected the highest standards of staff and the vast majority carry out their roles with professionalism and integrity. “Any allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated and we take swift action when staff break the law. We have a dedicated unit of trained officers who work in close co-operation with the police to investigate any alleged criminality.”

© Copyright of Law At Work 2021 Law At Work is part of Marlowe plc’s employee relations division