Young New Zealand men who visited Britain on extended OE stays have been drawn into a British political scandal over visas being traded for sexual favours.

The British Home Office is investigating claims that immigration officials traded favours with attractive young women travellers in a sex-for-visas scam and ignored vital security checks.

But yesterday the Croydon Guardian newspaper reported that young men from New Zealand and Australia were also propositioned by women working at London's Lunar House immigration centre.

The paper's unnamed source worked at the centre before retiring.

The comments came in the wake of claims by a former administrative officer at the centre, Anthony Pamnani, 23, who quit after working there for four years.

Another unnamed Lunar House employee backed up the claims that staff offered visas in return for sexual favours. The retired worker says it was not just staff members that did the propositioning. Female asylum seekers also "threw themselves'' at staff in a bid for visas.

The former employee, with almost 20 years' service, told how women paraded like contestants in a beauty pageant.

He claimed those deemed pretty enough often had sex with staff in return for administrative favours.

"You would see the girls looking around for the vulnerable men and they would smile and make faces at them," the source said. "Some of them would openly offer sex on the counter.

"They came in and sat right in front of those they considered to be vulnerable. I've had plenty of propositions from punters as well.

"The things that were happening there were unbelievable.

"Women officers did the same thing as men. In fact the men were more cautious.

"Young girls at Lunar House looking for a bit of fun used to proposition Australian and New Zealand men and then talked about it casually in the tea- room."

Earlier, Mr Pamnani alleged that attractive women applicants were seen first at the centre, which deals with 300,000 visa and asylum applications a year.

"One girl came in and told us an admin officer had visited her flat and they had slept together. She got indefinite leave to stay," he said.