Refugees no longer have to reveal past crimes to drive minicabs
Licensing authorities cannot carry out background checks on those claiming sanctuary in case it puts them at risk if they are sent home. The legal loophole is spelled out in a Transport for London document on “private hire driver licensing” applications.
The form states: “With regards to overseas criminal records checks, no such checks will be made in respect of those applicants who declare that they are in possession of or who have applied for refugee or asylum status.”
The TfL form also appears to be offering a licence to “asylum seekers” – in breach of rules banning them from working until their asylum claim has been approved.
The revelations come after the Rotherham child sex scandal which saw up to 2,000 victims ferried around by taxi drivers involved in the appalling abuse.
Campaigners yesterday called for the loophole to be plugged.
They could be putting vulnerable members of the public in the hands of thieves, murderers and rapists. It beggars belief
Tory MP Nick de Bois said: “They should not be offering licences to those they can’t check on. They could be putting vulnerable members of the public in the hands of thieves, murderers and rapists. It beggars belief.”
Everyone applying for a licence is meant to go through checks to reveal any criminal past. Those from outside the EU who have spent more than three months abroad in the past three years have to provide a “letter of good conduct” from their home embassy.
TfL’s Helen Chapman said: “Any applicant that has lived in a country other than the UK for more than three months within the last three years is required to produce a certificate of good conduct.
“We recognise this may not be possible if an applicant is granted asylum or refugee status and, where applicable, these applicants will be required to provide a certificate from any other country of residence within the last three years. They will also be required to provide evidence of their certificate of registration or a letter from the Border and Immigration Agency.”