The UK Border Agency has posted further reports of Illegal workers discovered in two Berkshire restaurants after night time raids by immigration officers.
The latest enforcement operation was carried out as part of the government’s ongoing nationwide campaign to tackle illegal working and immigration crime.
Acting on intelligence tip-offs, border agency officers visited the Mikado on London Road in Sunninghill, Ascot, and Asian Fusion on Bath Road in Littlewick Green, Maidenhead, on the evening of Tuesday 30 November to carry out checks on staff to ensure the workers had the right to work in the UK.
At Mikado a 40-year-old Chinese man and a 42-year-old Malaysian woman were arrested for being in the country illegally after their visas expired. They both face removal from the UK.
A large quantity of cash was also seized from the Chinese man. If it is found that he earned the money through working illegally it could be seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act say the UK Border Agency.
A third member of staff was found to be a failed asylum seeker who had no right to work in the UK. He was later released on immigration bail while the border agency ‘secure a travel document for him so he can be removed’.
At Asian Fusion a 32-year-old Bangladeshi man was arrested for overstaying his visa and was detained pending his removal. Two other members of staff who were also found to be working illegally were granted immigration bail, which means they were released.
Both Mikado and Asian Fusion could now face fines of up to £30,000 each unless they can prove that they did the legally required checks on staff.
Rob Allen, Assistant Director, Berkshire local immigration team, said:
‘Employers of illegal immigrants can be hit with big fines – up to £10,000 per person – but if you deliberately employ an illegal worker you could face criminal prosecution.
‘Through illegal working operations like this we are sending a simple message to employers of illegal workers in Berkshire: more raids are planned and you will be caught.
‘It is the legal responsibility of all employers to check that employees have the right to work in the UK.’
Immigration Minister Damian Green said:
‘These operations are among many being carried out across the country following the success of a major crackdown on immigration crime during the summer, which generated a large number of arrests, cash seizures and prosecutions as well as fresh intelligence.
‘Illegal immigration puts huge pressure on the public purse at a time when the country can least afford it. Together with the police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency we will continue to make life as difficult as possible for those who cheat the immigration system.’
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit the preventing illegal working section of th UK Border Agency website or they can call the UK Border Agency’s employers helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Every year, the UK Border Agency imposes civil penalties on thousands of companies which fail to carry out the necessary right-to-work checks on their staff.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be assured or visit the Crimestoppers website.
Last week the UK Border Agency published updated summary guidance to help employers understand the law on illegal working and what the steps they must take to comply.
The UK Border Agency is taking a tougher line against employers who fall foul of the law.
Despite the threat of £10,000 fines and a widely publicised information campaign, many employers are still slipping up because there is still a lot of confusion surrounding the whole area of employing foreign nationals and even EU workers.
For instance a common assumption is that all members of the European Union have the same rights. Wrong. Not all EU members have the right to freely work in the UK.
As members of the European Union, Bulgarians have visa-free access to the UK, however, like Romanians, they do not enjoy the same treaty rights to work as the earlier A8 Eastern European EU accession countries such as Poland and Latvia.
Employers cannot employ a Romanian or Bulgarian worker in the same way they can a Polish or other A8 accession country citizen.
Many Romanians and Bulgarians register as self employed and start businesses, which is allowed, or work and study on a Yellow Card Visa. Romanian and Bulgarian Students taking vocational or sandwich courses, such as NVQ in Health and Social Care, are allowed to work full time, as stated on their Yellow Cards.
Other issues which cause confusion are overseas workers on student visas and dependants of Tier 4 students and Tier 2 working visa holders.
If in doubt, pick up the phone or seek legal advice from a professional who can audit your files, as mistakes can be costly.
If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: