30 September 2009

Face of Tesco found without a valid UK visa

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It has emerged that a checkout worker for Tesco, who won a competition to feature as a "real woman" modelling Tesco's clothing range in advertisements, has been working in the UK for some time without a valid UK visa.

Fatou Cham, 32, was one of six employees chosen to model Tesco's clothing range and the Gambian-born Ms Cham, from east London, has already featured in magazines.

Ms Cham arrived in Britain in 1998 to study at London Metropolitan University in Holloway, north London.

At that time she had a valid UK student visa which later expired in 2001. She then applied, but was refused permission to stay in the UK. Ms Cham has made a further application in January, which has now been appealed to the High Court. 

When Ms Cham joined Tesco in 2002 foreign nationals only needed a national insurance number to gain employment, a rule which changed in 2004 but only new employees were required to provide further evidence like a UK work permit or UK visa

A Tesco spokeswoman said: "As soon as we were made aware of this issue by the UK Border Agency we co-operated fully with the investigation."

The spokesperson said: "We carried out all the checks required by law and the authorities have confirmed that they are satisfied that we followed the correct procedures."


 The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in UK immigration and UK work permit applications.

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