Original post from the Daily Mail
- Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be cab drivers are not checked
- Drivers usually undergo criminal records checks for the public’s safety
- Those from outside the EU must provide reference from their home nation
- But refugees and asylum seekers are exempt and may be serious criminals
Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks, potentially allowing murderers and rapists to get behind the wheel.
Rules laid down by Transport for London (TfL) mean refugees and those applying for asylum do not have to reveal whether they have a criminal history when trying to become a cab driver.
The legal loophole in an official application document on ‘private hire driver licensing’ says people coming to Britain will not be required to have their criminal convictions checked.
Asylum seekers and refugees applying to be minicab drivers are exempt from criminal records checks (file picture)
The form, seen by the Daily Express, 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.’
Everyone else who applies for a cab licence must undergo criminal records checks. Those from outside the EU who have spent more than three months abroad over the last three years have to provide a ‘letter of good conduct’ from their home country.
This usually requires their country of origin to give a reference to the Home Office, revealing whether the applicant has a criminal history.
But asylum seekers and refugees are exempt from this too, according to a second document.
A TfL guide on taxi and private hire applications states: ‘Any applicant who has been granted or is awaiting a decision to be granted asylum/refugee status will not be required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the country he is claiming asylum from.’
Applicants from outside the EU must provide a letter of ‘good conduct’ from their home country – but asylum seekers do not have to
Campaigners called for a change in the guidelines, calling on all minicab drivers to undergo thorough criminal checks.
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.’
Helen Chapman, manager of London taxi and private hire at TfL, said: ‘All applicants for a Taxi or Private Hire drivers licence are required to undertake an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service check which is carried out by the Home Office.
‘Any applicant that has lived in a country other than the UK for more than three months within the last three years is also required to produce a Certificate of Good Conduct from the relevant country.
‘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 of Good Conduct 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.’