A north Northumberland restaurant is facing a heavy financial penalty after a night of UK Border Agency enforcement action last week.
Officers from the agency arrested two men during an illegal worker operation carried out in Seahouses on the evening of Tuesday, June 12.
Acting on intelligence reports, specially trained officers from the agency carried out checks on staff at Indian Brasserie in Main Street.Two Bangladeshi men, aged 24 and 29, were arrested. The younger man had overstayed the terms of his visa, while the older is a suspected illegal entrant. Neither has the right to be in or to work in the UK, and steps will now be taken to remove them both from the country. The restaurant was issued with a civil penalty notice of up to £10,000 per illegal worker.
Wallace Wilson, manager of the UK Border Agency Northumbria Local Immigration Team, said: “These arrests demonstrate that we carry out illegal worker operations in all locations, from city centres to rural villages.
“Employers beware – if you chose to use illegal labour we will catch you and you will pay a heavy penalty.”
The restaurant must now show that it carried out proper checks on their workers, or face the financial penalty. Speaking to the Gazette, Mr Wilson said: “This type of illegal working is not a victimless crime.
“The businesses are cutting costs which undercuts businesses trading honestly and it defrauds the public purse.
“Often the employees are victims themselves as their employers have some hold over them such as providing them accommodation, and because of that they pay them under the minimum wage.”
But the UK Border Agency provides support for businesses so they understand the rules.
“We do work with businesses to make sure they are aware of their obligations,” said Mr Wilson. “Employees must have the right to work in the UK and businesses can carry out simple checks to make sure that’s the case. If they need any more information they can go to our website.”