UK visa problems sees restaurant hit with £10k fine

14 Sep 2012 | Posted by Carl Thomas

A restaurant in Camborne has been issued with a civil penalty fine of £10,000 for employing workers without conducting the legally-required UK visa checks.

Spice Cottage on Commercial Street was raided on September 13th last year and UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers arrested two members of staff on suspicion of problems with their immigration status.

Investigations revealed that both of the men were from Bangladesh. One of them had stayed in the country illegally following the expiration of his UK visa, while his colleague had entered the country illegally in the first place.

The pair were removed from the country in November of 2011 but proceedings against the Spice Cottage have been ongoing.

The company was initially issued with a potential fine notice for employing illegal workers and given the chance to prove that it had conducted the correct right-to-work checks before employing the men.

After failing to provide this proof, the restaurant was handed a fine of £10,000. The fine could potentially have been double this amount as the UKBA is entitled to issue fines of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker.

Kenny Champan, from the UKBA's local immigration team in the south west, commented: “Employers are responsible for carrying out document checks and we work with businesses to let them know what they need to do.

"Illegal working has damaging social and economic consequences for the UK. It undercuts businesses that operate within the law, undermines British workers and exploits migrant workers."

He added that the "message is clear" and that "firm action" will be taken against employers who ignore the rules.

In 2011, the year in which the UKBA caught the Spice Cottage, more than 1,100 penalty notices were served to employers and nearly £7 million was collected in penalty fines.

In addition to the civil penalty that can be issued against a business, there is also the risk of being charged with a criminal offence of knowingly employing an illegal migrant worker, which comes with a maximum custodial sentence of two years and/or an unlimited fine.