Page last updated at 12:06 GMT, Sunday, 27 September 2009 13:06 UK

Face of Tesco 'in UK illegally'

Tesco logo
Tesco says it followed all procedures correctly

A Tesco checkout worker who won a competition to become the face of the supermarket is an illegal immigrant, it has emerged.

Gambian-born Fatou Cham, 32, was one of six employees chosen as a "real woman" to model Tesco's clothing range.

Ms Cham, from East Ham, east London, has already featured in magazines.

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."

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

High Court appeal

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

She joined Tesco in 2002 when foreign nationals only needed a national insurance number to gain employment.

But the rules have now changed, meaning Ms Cham now requires a valid work visa.

Her applications have so far been turned down and she had appealed to the High Court.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "The UK Border Agency expects people with no right to be here to return home voluntarily - if people do not we will remove them.

"Last year we removed 5,400 foreign national prisoners, and more than 66,000 people were removed or returned home voluntarily.

"Enforced removal is always a last option."

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