Fake construction ID warning as EU worker scheme closes
Hudson Contract Ltd, a tax status and employment contract services specialist, has issued a warning over a rise in counterfeit construction worker identity documents as the deadline for EU Settlement Scheme applications draws nearer.
The company warns that the government has effectively outsourced enforcement of the new immigration regime to the public and private sector”. Managing Director of Hudson Contract, Ian Anfield, said: Instead of deploying immigration investigators, it seems the government is hoping to make life difficult for people without settled status hoping they will leave the country if they cannot open a bank account, obtain a driving licence, rent a home, pay utility bills or access any basic services.
Anfield believes that this approach by the government “will only fuel the black market in ID documents and that he has witnessed the growth of the black market in Construction Skills Certificate Scheme (CSCS) cards for operatives to work on building sites and in National Insurance.
He added that the people most likely to benefit will be organised crime groups and gangmasters. “They know which EU citizens have returned home to central and eastern Europe and will be selling their pre-registered immigration status to vulnerable workers in the UK”, he said.
“Without the legitimate status of their own, these workers will not be able to access bank accounts, decent accommodation, or basic health services. Instead, they will be at the mercy of gangs who target them for exploitation and take a cut of their earnings”, commented Anfield.
How to know if an identification document is a counterfeit
According to uComply, if a construction company is found to have employees with fake ID cards, there is the potential of a £20,000 fine for every worker who has one. So, how do you know which IDs are fabricated and which are real? You can use a system called uAuthenticate.
uAuthenticate is a system that can automatically check the authenticity of identification documents. According to uComply, it works by checking every visible and invisible fact and security feature on more than 3,000 ID documents and visas from 200 countries. It also scans in ultraviolet, infrared, and white light, and extracts RFID (chip) data, including biometrics. Following this, it issues a clear pass or fail in just seconds, before creating and storing a complete audit trail for every worker and every document.
Other features of UAuthenticate include the ability to:
- Alert you to imminent visa expiries
- Help you pass UKVI inspections
- Provide a Statutory Excuse and is continually updated with the current Home Office guidelines.
With the circulation of fake IDs on the rise, making sure that employees have legitimate identification and CSCS cards on them has never been more important.
University of Dresden constructs carbon concrete building
The Technical University of Dresden, in partnership with German architecture firm Henn, is constructing the first building to be made out of concrete and carbon fibre, rather than traditional steel.
The combination of materials, known as, “carbon concrete” has the same structural strength as its steel-reinforced alternative but less concrete is used, according to researchers at the university.
The building, called “The Cube” is currently under construction at the University of Dresden’s campus in Germany, and is believed to be the first carbon concrete building in the world. Strengthening the concrete, the carbon fibre yarns are used to create a mesh into which the concrete is then poured.
Unlike steel, the mesh is rust-proof meaning that the lifespan of carbon concrete is longer than that of the more typical steel-reinforced concrete. This also allows the layers to be much thinner than steel.
The design and shape of The Cube
According to the companies, the flexibility of carbon fibre allows the walls to fold up and become a roof. In a statement talking about the building’s design elements, Hen said: “The design of The Cube reinterprets the fluid, textile nature of carbon fibres by seamlessly merging the ceiling and walls in a single form, suggesting a future architecture in which environmentally conscious design is paired with formal freedom and a radical rethinking of essential architectural elements.
"The wall and ceiling are no longer separate components but functionally merge into one another as an organic continuum.” Displayed as a showpiece for TU Dresden’s major project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, The Cube aims to explore the potential uses of carbon concrete in construction.
"Carbon concrete could contribute to more flexible and resource-saving construction processes, and switching to carbon concrete could reduce the CO2 emissions from construction by up to 50%," Henn said in a statement.
Bio-based carbon fibre under development to reduce carbon footprint
While carbon fibre may be lighter and stronger than steel, it has a much higher carbon footprint. Describing the material’s impact on the environment, Dr Erik Frank, Senior Carbon Scientist at the German Institute of Textile and Fibre Research Denkendorf (DITF), said it is “usually very bad.” To reduce the carbon footprint, Frank is finding ways to make carbon fibre out of lignin, a common plant-based substance found in the paper manufacturing industry.