The Home Office has reported that seventeen illegal workers have been caught in Lincolnshire by the UK Border Agency as part of an ongoing campaign to crack down on rogue employers.
At 1845 on Friday 20 November officers from the UK Border Agency’s Boston-based team swooped on India Garden restaurant, Market Place, Sleaford where they checked the immigration status of all the workers.
Four Bangladeshi males and an Indian male were identified as having no permission to work in the United Kingdom. The Indian illegal worker told officers that he was a seaman but had deserted his ship after it docked in the United Kingdom in 2008.
On Wednesday 18 November, at 1930 immigration officers paid a visit to Hung Wang Chinese restaurant, Trinity Road, Gainsborough where six Chinese illegal workers – three males and three females – were found.
One of the females fled from the restaurant but was caught outside by officers who were supported by colleagues from Lincolnshire Police.
A search of the restaurant revealed various forged identity documents in a handbag belonging to one of the workers along with £2,900 in cash which the police seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
On Wednesday 11 November, two other businesses in Gainsborough received evening visits from the UK Border Agency following intelligence that illegal workers were employed there.
At Florentino’s Pizzeria, Market Street, 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.
Officers then moved on to the Moonlight Tandoori restaurant in Trinity Street. 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 42-year-old illegal worker was found to have a counterfeit Finnish passport and a Bangladeshi passport in a different name in his possession.
He appeared at Lincoln Magistrates Court on 13 November, charged with possessing false documents, fraud and forgery. He did not enter a plea and his case is now due to be heard at Lincoln Crown Court on 18 December.
Last month, on 14 October, immigration officers caught an Iranian illegal worker at the Topkapi takeaway on Lincoln High Street.
The same business was visited last year by the UK Border Agency when another illegal worker was caught.
After the second visit last month a fine of £8,750 was imposed on the Topkapi takeaway.
The UK Border Agency is now seeking to remove all 17 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.
The businesses must prove to the UK Border Agency that they carried out the correct pre-employment checks to avoid paying the heavy fines.
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.’
The immigration raids across Lincolnshire coincide with a large-scale advertising campaign warning bosses of the heavy fines if caught employing illegal foreign labour.
A tough new civil penalty system was brought in last year to provide a fast and effective way of tackling bosses who fail to carry out proper checks on workers from outside Europe. A fine of up to £10,000 per worker can be imposed for every illegal worker found at a business.
The UK Border Agency publishe guidance for employers on preventing illegal working, which can be found on the UK Border Agency website, www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers or by calling the UK Border Agency Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699. Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed in Lincolnshire should contact the UK Border Agency on 01205 355 491 where anonymity can be assured.
Source: UK Border Agency
The Government is sending out a clear message to all employers that illegal employment will not be tolerated. Even their own top legal adviser, Baroness Scotland, received a £5,000 fine for committing a ‘technical breach’ by failing to keep copies of documents of her former housekeeper, who was found to be working for the Peer illegally.
Viewers of Sky TV’s UK Border Force will know that a large number of illegal immigrants caught during these expensive raids are actually released (and asked to report each week) because their own Government’s will not allow them back in without travel documents which can take months to arrange.
The UK has an estimated 500,000 – 750,000 illegal workers, and leading think tank, ippr, says it would take 20 years and £5 billion to remove them.
The LSE (London School of Economics) said in a recent report that granting amnesty to long-term illegal immigrants in the UK, could add up to £3bn to the economy. The LSE report added that an amnesty would not lead to a rise in migration but would raise spending on welfare services and housing.
But in the current climate, where a recent ‘Yougov’ poll revealed that immigration is the second most important issue to voter, a full scale amnesty is unlikely.
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