11 Held after Swoop by Immigration Officers at National Gallery; WHISTLEBLOWER AT TOP ART COLLECTION REVEALS CULTURE OF BULLYING

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE LEITCH

ELEVEN staff at the National Gallery have been arrested and may be deported after a swoop by the Immigration Service, the Standard can reveal.

The raid found two failed asylum seekers and a mixture of illegal workers and overstayers at Britain's national collection of fine art.

Nine of the workers were contract staff in restaurants or shops and two were employed directly by the Gallery as warders.

Six Brazilians, three Ecuadoreans and one Nigerian were detained in the operation, which saw 60 immigration officers raid the Trafalgar Square gallery on 19 January. Authorities were today working to establish the nationality of an 11th worker.

A statement from the Home Office last night said: "Eleven people were arrested on immigration offences. They are being detained for further questioning. We would seek to remove anyone who does not have the right to be in the country." The Nat ional Gallery last night confirmed the raid, saying it "complied with the legal requirements of the Immigration Services, as any employer would".

The story emerged thanks to a disaffected warder who emailed the Standard anonymously to complain about working conditions at the institution.

He wrote: "The Home Office sent approximately 60 men to detain around 11 of our staff because they had either illegal passports or their work permits had expired. …

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