The UK Border Agency (UKBA) are not winding down for Christmas as enforcement teams carry out immigration raids looking for illegal workers. In Kent this month, 7 illegal workers have been arrested in raids carried out in Maidstone, Harrietsham, Dymchurch, Folkestone and Canterbury.
If you live in these areas and are expecting to get a takeaway over Christmas, best check first as they might not have any staff!
Acting on a tip-off, officers raided Marino’s Fish Bar, Hart Lane, Maidstone, earlier this month. They checked the immigration status of those working there and identified a 20-year-old man from Indian who had entered the country illegally and had no right to work in the UK.
Officers also visited Hilltown Cuisine, Union Street, Maidstone, where a 41-year-old man from Bangladesh was also found to have entered the country illegally.
Following the ‘takeaway’ theme, later the same evening officers went to The Taste of Bengal, Ashford Road, Harrietsham where checks by officers revealed another man from Bangladesh, aged 33, who had overstayed or failed to leave the UK after his visa expired.
All three were arrested and placed in immigration detention pending removal from the UK. The men aged 20 and 41 will be kept in a detention centre whilst removal orders will be served before they are probably put on a flight out of the UK.
However, the 33-year old was released, but the UKBA say he must “report regularly to the agency, while his case is considered”.
On Friday, 7 December, officers from the agency visited Tandoori Hut, High Street, Dymchurch. Checks on immigration status of staff there revealed a Bangladeshi man aged 48 who had overstayed his visa. The overstayer was arrested and remains in immigration detention pending his removal from the UK.
Another visit carried out the same day by the busy UKBA officers to Bengal Spice, Canterbury Road in Folkestone revealed two men, aged 31 and 40 both from Bangladesh, who had overstayed their visas. Both were arrested and are in detention awaiting removal to their home country.
Again, acting on information received agency officers visited Masala Gate, Northgate, Canterbury on Saturday 8 December where a 25-year-old Bangladeshi man was identified as overstaying his visa. He was also arrested and remains in detention while arrangements are made to remove him from the UK.
Jackie Fowler, head of the UK Border Agency local immigration team in Kent, said:
“We are carrying out operations across Kent to track down people who are breaking immigration law.
“Those who are here illegally should be in no doubt that they will be found, arrested and removed from the country.
“Companies tempted to try to undercut competitors by deliberately employing illegal workers should be warned that they will face heavy fines.”
The businesses named above have all been handed penalty notices for employing illegal workers. To avoid a fine of up to £10,000 per illegal worker the employers must provide evidence that the correct pre-employment checks were made on the men – such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working, or they can call the agency’s employers helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Source: UK Border Agency.
The Christmas holiday period can a precarious time to be arrested and detained by the UK Border Agency. Finding an Immigration Lawyer to lodge an appeal or bail application will be extremely difficult and there is a high probability that you will be counting down the New Year from a prison cell.
Cynthia Barker of Bison UK Immigration Advisers, a firm which has helped detainees secure a release, said indefinite detention or detention for long periods is becoming more common. She added that in one recent case “a student visa holder was detained for 80 days after he was refused an extension”.
Immigration Matters has teamed up with a network of immigration law practitioners and Barristers to offer bail and appeal services for those who find themselves locked up over the holidays.
Overstaying students are now being targeted by private firms, such as Capita, hired by the UKBA to track people down. According to ILPA, the firms are going beyond their remit by using tactics such as sending text messages to migrants telling them they have no right to stay in the UK and should leave.
From a rainy London Christmas Eve, Immigration Matters wishes all our readers and especially migrants far from home a very happy, safe and free Christmas!
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:
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