NE fights off UK Border Agency interference
Bit of an issue with my chocolate lab this morning – mad as a box of frogs and eats anything. Swiped two pounds of butter from the breakfast table which he inhaled in five seconds flat. Dear God. It came out the other end faster than a Tokyo bullet train. Think I could probably have claimed compassionate leave for the day but decontamination plan completed, I got into work at a bright and breezy 11.15.
“Afternoon. Especially strong gravity around your neck of the woods this morning was there?” asked my PA with, refreshingly, only mild sarcasm.
Ignoring the ever insubordinate PA, went into my office and mentally removed my trousers in preparation for a bit of a carpeting from our fearless leader, Sir Patrick.
Sir Paddy had demanded the low down on how we had so convincingly managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on a £40m quid contract for the Chinese air force because we wouldn’t foot the bill for a bit of jiggy- jiggy with an ‘air-Rice Marshall’. Didn’t seem to understand that the Bribery Act applied to Hemlock and basically buggered us for doing business in China.
Was strengthening my resolve with a strong black one when our HR director Janice barged in. Was a bit nonplussed until I remembered I actually still had my trousers on.
I had barely composed myself when Janice made her pronouncement of doom: “UK Border Agency have just come in, mob-handed and demanding to check all our work permit paperwork. They won’t take no for an answer.”
Bloody hell – it never ends, I thought. Manfully avoiding the possibility of being on the scene when Sir Patrick turned up to find this new UKBAalls-ache added to the stack of Hemlock Engineering headaches I collared Jimmy the Greek, our dedicated finance director, and legged it down to Cavendish’s to avoid potential fireworks.
Got back into the office to find Janice apoplectic. “We’re apparently missing two bits of work permit paper relating to Annetta and one of the engineers in Dave’s Aeronautical Systems Group so they’re downgrading us from an A grade employer to B”.
“What the hell does that mean?” I asked, a bit surprised that we were even grade A in the first place. “It means that they’ll give us an action plan to tell us what we have to do to get back to an A, which we have to do within three months, and they’ll charge us several grand for doing it.”
“Bugger that for a bunch of coconuts,” spluttered Jimmy. “That’s extortion!” Even though he was Welsh he did treat the company’s money like it was his own….spent it that way as well sometimes.
“UK Border Agency have just come in, mob-handed and demanding to check all our work permit paperwork”
“Sounds like a case for my attack-dog,” I suggested. Shirley was my local MP. Had helped me out in a few sticky situations before and loved Hemlock as we were by far the biggest employer in her bailiwick.
Two hours and a blizzard of e-mails later, allegations of extortion and heavy handedness and pointing out that the incompetence of UKBA has tens of thousands of illegal immigrants and I had an e-mail in my in-tray from a certain deputy director, immigration & settlement directorate.
It unrolled as a grovelling apology and an assurance that we would not be downgraded. Result! Boy, she’s a formidable woman that Shirley. Wondered idly how many businesses just stumped up the cash to pay another unofficial tax foisted on us.
Any similarities of characters to persons living or deceased is completely intentional.