Disclosure of information by private person
Section 134: Employer
336.This section provides for the Secretary of State, where he has reasonable suspicion that a person has committed a specified immigration offence, including an offence in relation to earnings under the national asylum support arrangements, to require that person’s employer to disclose information about that person’s whereabouts, earnings or employment history. The provision applies to employers and to employment agencies hiring out the services of staff, whether those staff are self-employed, employed by the employment agency, or employed by a third party employer.
Section 135: Financial institution
337.This section provides for the Secretary of State to require a financial institution, such as a bank or building society, to supply information about a person whom the Secretary of State reasonably suspects of making a dishonest representation so as to commit a specified offence in relation to the national asylum support arrangements. To require information the Secretary of State must also reasonably suspect that the institution has the information and that it is relevant to the offence.
Section 136: Notice
338.This section sets out the form in which a requirement under sections 134 or 135 must be made, and what is required of an employer or financial institution in response to such a request. The request must be made in writing and must specify the information required, the manner in which it is to be provided and the time limit for replying, which must be at least 10 working days from receipt of the request. Within that time limit, the person on whom the notice is served must provide the information.
Section 137: Disclosure of information: offences
339.A person who without reasonable excuse does not comply with a request made under section 136(3) (which would include a person who falsely denies having the information requested) commits an offence punishable with a maximum penalty of a fine or three months imprisonment or both.
Section 138: Offence by body
340.The offence at section 137 may be committed by a natural or legal person, including a body corporate, such as a company. This section provides that where an offence under section 137 is committed by a body corporate, an officer of that body (which may include a manager, director, secretary or member) will have committed an offence if it is proved that the offence was committed with his consent or connivance, or was due to his neglect. The section also provides for liability of partners in a firm, making special provision for limited partnerships.
Section 139: Privilege against self-incrimination
341.This section provides that information provided by a person under sections 134 and 135 cannot be used in evidence in criminal proceedings against that person, except in proceedings for an offence under section 137.