IMMIGRATION officers have arrested 21 illegal workers following a series of raids in Didcot and Crowthorne.
Officers, acting on intelligence, swooped on the restaurants and takeaways on Thursday. All those arrested have been detained pending removal from the UK, with the exception of three who have been placed on immigration bail while their cases are looked into.
Paul Smith, head of the Thames Valley and Surrey Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: “This is a stark warning to businesses which either deliberately employ people with no right to work or fail to carry out the legally required checks. We will catch up with you. Operations like this are carried out across the Thames Valley almost every day as we continue our work to track down and remove from the country those who seek to abuse the immigration laws. “Illegal working is not victimless. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.”
The businesses, which are believed to be linked, face fines totalling up to £250,000.
Every year, the Home Office imposes fines on hundreds of companies which fail to carry out proper right-to-work checks on staff. Anyone with information about immigration offenders can report crime on the HO website, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The HO recently contracted Capita, a private ‘bounty hunter’ company, to track down 150,000 overstaying students and migrants so they can be removed or deported from the UK.
Capita has sent thousands of text messages and letters to migrants, some still with valid visas, ordering them to “leave the country” in what appears to be an unlawful manner – without official removal directions on which you can lodge an appeal.
The number of people being picked up and detained seems to be on the increase.
If you have overstayed your visa, but think you may have a human rights claim to remain in the UK, you should take advice on how to regularise or legalise your stay in the UK, before you get arrested and removed.
Immigration Matters offers bail and appeal services for those who find themselves locked in detention centres.
If you have been detained, need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: