Government figures show 136 suspected illegal immigrants arrested at 2012 site between April and December 2008

More than 100 workers suspected of being illegal immigrants were caught working on the Olympic site last year, it has emerged.

The figures were obtained from a parliamentary question tabled by the Conservatives, which showed that 136 people were arrested on site between April and December last year.

Only 19 of those have been granted leave to remain, and 11 have been deported already. A total of 90 are still waiting for application decisions, and 16 have been prosecuted.

Work on the village in January 2009
Credit: ODA
Work on the Olympic site in January 2009

Damian Green, the shadow immigration minister, said: “We should be worried by the security implications of this, as well as this new evidence that all the government's tough talk on immigration controls is so much hot air.”

According to the Independent newspaper, a further 200 Romanian workers were “quietly sacked” in the past two months as part of a clampdown on foreign workers. An ODA spokesperson said:

“Efforts to boost direct employment on the site have affected all self employed personnel including some Romanian workers however the figure will not be as high as stated in the media. This is not focused on immigration status; it is focused on employment status and the agreement on employment standards we have in place with construction trade unions.”

The workers were falsely claiming to be self-employed, it was reported, but the UK Borders Agency found that they were actually full-time employees of construction firms.

Alan Ritchie, general secretary of the construction union Ucatt, told the Independent that the site was “one of the best regulated construction sites in Britain”.

An ODA spokesperson said: “These figures demonstrate our joint efforts with the UK Borders Agency (UKBA) to ensure people working on site are legally entitled to do so. Since early last year UKBA representatives have been on site working in partnership with our staff and contractors checking the documentation for every worker employed on the Olympic park. This protection will have led to many of these investigations and also we, our contractors and the Metropolitan Police facilitate intelligence-led investigations on site.”