Soho restaurant facing £80k fine

05 Nov 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A restaurant in the Soho area of London is facing a fine of up to £80,000 for employing overseas workers illegally.

The Old Town 97 restaurant on Wardour Street, Soho, was the subject of a raid by UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers late last month (October 27th) after the immigration officials received intelligence regarding its employees.

Officers targeted the establishment at around 7pm and conducted checks on the workers to assess if they were employed legally or not. A total of eight employees aged between 21 and 47 were arrested for a variety of immigration offences and are currently being processed.

Included in the group were three six Chinese men, one Malaysian woman and a Chinese woman; all of whom have since been detained pending their removal from the country. Their offences ranged from overstaying on UK visas to working in breach of UK visa conditions and remaining in the country following a failed application for asylum.

Meanwhile, the restaurant itself could have some trouble on its hands for employing illegal workers. Old Town 97 has already been issued with a civil penalty but could also face the fine of up to £10,000 for each worker. These can be avoided if the business can prove that it conducted the necessary right-to-work checks on the individuals before taking them on.

Steve Fisher, assistant director at the UKBA, commented on the case: “Our enforcement teams are out almost every day in London carrying out operations like this and where we find someone who is in the UK we will seek to remove them.

“But we are also targeting employers who take on illegal workers. They are both fuelling illegal immigration and damaging the majority of legitimate businesses who play by the rules. This is why we have the power to hit those who break the law with heavy fines.”