Northern Ireland news

Minister apologises for Border Force recruitment 'mistake'

Paul Ainsworth

Caroline Nokes has apologised for the “error” that saw Irish passport holders denied the right to apply for jobs with the UK Border Force ahead of Brexit.

Last month The Irish News revealed that only British passport holders were eligible to apply for the positions, and pressure mounted on the Home Office over what was branded a “border farce” when the matter was raised by the Equality Commission.

It was later announced that the posts were to be withdrawn and re-advertised, allowing Irish passport holders to apply.

More than 1,000 posts were initially advertised, including 21 positions based in Belfast. Those employed will deal with immigration and customs checks.

The issue was brought up at the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee yesterday by North Down MP Lady Sylvia Hermon.

Responding, Ms Nokes said: “Certainly it was not a recruitment campaign that was signed off by ministers.

“This would have been within the Border Force that the mistake was made. I’m very happy to apologise on their behalf.

“We took steps to correct it to make sure the recruitment process was fair. I’m very sorry it happened.”

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