Foreign Criminals Could Be Working with Children; (1) PASSPORT CONTROL: But There Is No Procedure for Checking on an Immigrants Criminal Past (2) UNPROTECTED: Scots Children Could Be at Risk

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Byline: Michael Tait

A SHARP increase in the number of migrants to Scotland has sparked fearsthat hundreds of foreign criminals could be working with children.

Vetting agency Disclosure Scotland can only access records held in the UK andit is up to overseas applicants voluntarily to declare any previousconvictions.

Flaws in the system were highlighted in November when an Audit Scotland reportdisclosed that one in ten foreign doctors in NHS Scotland had been employedwithout being properly vetted.

This prompted fears that criminals and bogus medics could be getting jobs inthe NHS.

Now concerns have been raised that councils providing vital services forchildren, the elderly and vulnerable people are employing workers from the EUand further afielddespite being unable to make adequate checks about their criminal past.

Politicians say this means migrants with convictions for sexual or violentoffences are free to apply for jobs north of the Border.

Scottish Tory leader Annabel Goldie has urged First Minister Alex Salmond toclose the loophole by putting pressure on crime-fighting agencies such asInterpol to set up an international database which would track offenders.

More than 52,000 migrants, 44 per cent of them Polish, applied to work inScotland in the past year, compared with 14,500 five years ago.

A Scottish Executive report last month said a further 20,000 migrants wereneeded annually to fend off an economic crisis. Disclosure Scotland hasadmitted it has no jurisdiction to obtain criminal records from abroad,insisting the onus is on the individual to provide details of their criminalhistory from their home country.

Around 1,000 foreign teachers arrive in Scotland each year. The ScottishSecondary Teachers Association said this figure was increasing because of theinflux of Eastern Europeans, a pattern which has also led to a significantincrease in those working in the personal care sector. …