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£10,000 for a takeaway? UK immigration crackdown sees employers face hefty fines

by Tom 07/12/2009 10:39:00

Lincolnshire takeaway restaurants that
employ illegal workers have been targeted
by UK immigration officials

In a demonstration that the UK Border Agency is making good on their threats, several restaurants in Lincolnshire that employed illegal workers have been paid a visit by UK immigration officers recently.

In the last weeks of November, officers from the UK Border Agency swooped in on the following:

  • India Garden restaurant, Market Place, Sleaford where they checked the immigration status of all the workers, where four Bangladeshi males and an Indian male were identified as having no permission to work in the United Kingdom.
  • Hung Wang Chinese restaurant, Trinity Road, Gainsborough where six Chinese illegal workers - three males and three females - were found.
  • Florentino's Pizzeria, Market Street, where two Iranian men, aged 38 and 42, were arrested after checks showed that they were both failed asylum seekers who had no right to work in the United Kingdom.
  • Moonlight Tandoori restaurant in Trinity Street, where three Bangladeshi men were arrested after checks revealed they had no permission to be working in the United Kingdom. Two of the men, 33 and 42, were illegal entrants, while the third man, 30, had overstayed his visa.

The UK Border Agency is now seeking to remove all illegal workers back to their home countries as soon as possible.

All of the businesses visited were issued with on-the-spot penalty notices for employing illegal workers and may now face a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker. To avoid paying the heavy fines, the businesses must prove to the UK Border Agency that they carried out the correct pre-employment checks to ensure that the worker had gone through the proper migration channels before entering the UK (e.g. through applying for their work permit or UK visa through an overseas British embassy).

It's not the first time that the UK Border Agency has focussed on Lincolnshire businesses; last month, on 14 October, an Iranian illegal worker was discovered working at the Topkapi takeaway on Lincoln High Street. As the same business was visited last year by the UK Border Agency when another illegal worker was caught, a fine of £8,750 was imposed on the Topkapi takeaway.

Rachel Challis, from the UK Border Agency's Boston-based team, said:

"These arrests are part of an ongoing clampdown on illegal working. We are determined to pull the plug on the illegal jobs which lure illegal immigrants to come to the UK.

"Anyone in Lincolnshire who takes on a foreign national without permission to work in the UK is breaking the law and undermining legitimate businesses. Rogue employers should be warned that they face heavy fines and could even end up in jail.

"This year alone, we have fined companies in Lincolnshire tens of thousands of pounds for hiring illegal labour.

"There are strict rules about which foreign nationals can get a job in the UK and businesses have a clear responsibility to carry out the right checks."

- Tom Blackett is Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau

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