England

Nursing agency CareFirst 24 'employed illegal migrant workers'

Carefirst24 offices
Image caption Mahendrasing and Saraspedy Caussyram ran Carefirst24 from offices in Sutton, south London

A couple who ran a nursing agency with lucrative public sector contracts recruited dozens of illegal workers from overseas, a jury has been told.

Mahendrasing Caussyram, 51, and his wife Saraspedy, 54, are alleged to have hired 52 carers who worked illegally in the UK for CareFirst 24.

The agency was paid almost £500,000 by Sutton Council for care services over six years, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Workers were paid £450 a week for providing 24-hour home care.

'Significant income'

The court was told CareFirst 24 provided services for Woking and Walton hospitals in Surrey, Surrey Primary Care Trust and Surrey County Council as well as Merton and Sutton councils in south London.

Mr and Mrs Caussyram received "significant income" as directors of the Sutton-based company, which was registered with regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the court heard.

"Many of the carers sub-contracted by CareFirst 24 were overseas nationals from countries outside the European Union, in particular the Philippines - in other words, migrants," said prosecutor Andrew Evans.

'Illegal overstayers'

"The rate of pay which carers were paid was not particularly good. Neither were the hours.

"In some cases they continued to work after their visas expired. They were what the Home Office terms as illegal overstayers.

"If local authorities had known that CareFirst 24 was providing services via carers not working lawfully in the UK ... those services would have terminated and no further payment made."

The Caussyrams, of Burdon Lane, Sutton and accountant Omid Nabbey, 37, of Hartley Down, Purley, each deny two charges of facilitating breaches of immigration law between January 2011 and January 2013 and concealing criminal property.

Mr Evans told the court Mr Nabbey laundered the proceeds of the agency via his business Apple Payroll Solutions.

The case continues.

  • We have been asked to make clear that this case refers only to CareFirst 24, based at Upper Mulgrave Road in Sutton, and does not involve any other businesses with similar names.

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