London, Dec 18: British Home Secretary Jacqui Smith faced huge embarrassment on Monday when it emerged that an illegal immigrant had been working at the front desk of the ministry.
According to The Independent, a Nigerian man was picked up as immigration officers examined the status of more than 11,000 foreigners mistakenly cleared to work across Britain.
Aides said Smith was furious over the discovery of an illegal worker within her own department. The security guard had been in the department for about 18 months, checking the passes of visitors to the Home Office.
The man, supplied to the department by a sub-contractor, faces deportation after being arrested on Friday night.
The Border and Immigration Agency had been examining the records of 11,100 non-European Union nationals given permission to work by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).
It uncovered problems with a sub-contractor and the trail led it to the Home Office, its own department headquarters.
Smith said that the Permanent Secretary has taken immediate steps to tighten the procedures for checking the immigration status of those working in the Home Office, whether as a civil servant, employed by a contractor, or in any other capacity."
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said Smith needed to put her own house in order before pointing fingers at the opposition on the issue.
"It is clear this Government is part of the problem, not the solution," he said.
Jeremy Browne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "The Home Office seems to mess up with depressing regularity, but this latest breach of security goes literally to the heart of government."