Fears dozens of jobs could go in centre closure

Northumbria House, in Norfolk Street, North Shields.
Northumbria House, in Norfolk Street, North Shields.

Dozens of jobs could be lost at a government facility earmarked for closure.

The Northumbria House reporting centre in Norfolk Street, North Shields, is under threat from the Home Office.

Staff at the UK Visas and Immigration office have been given 90 days’ notice of possible redundancy as part of a Home Office shake up into tackling illegal aliens in the north east.

Officials at the Home Office say the move is part of an ongoing review, which could see all its work transferred to Teesside.

But staff at the North Shields centre say up to 60 people could be at risk of redundancy across both the Tyneside and Teesside centres.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Office is reviewing where immigration enforcement teams are based to ensure they are both operationally effective and deliver best value for the taxpayer – but they continue to work across the country, taking strong action against those who break our immigration laws, wherever they may be.

“As part of this, the work carried out in our Teesside enforcement office will be transferred to our other existing sites in the north east.

“As part of the review, the Northumbria House reporting centre in North Shields is also to close.

“Work will be transferred to the existing Russell Street reporting centre in Middlesbrough.

“Affected staff have been informed, and we are providing appropriate support, including maximising redeployment opportunities.”

Shocked staff and campaigners have raised fears that the closure could lead to more problems in the region, with a chance that foreign criminals will be left unmonitored.

There are concerns that although enforcement is likely to still take place out of Newcastle, immigrants will not be monitored properly while people are unlikely to make the trip to Middlesbrough for reporting.

The centre at Northumbria House is one of 19 immigration compliance and enforcement teams in the country.

They work with the public and alongside police, HM Revenue & Customs, local authorities and other local partners to ensure compliance with immigration laws and to enforce immigration law. Among their work is tracking down illegal migrants and targeting companies that employ workers illegally.

The team works with the community, developing local knowledge to tackle specific needs.