Scottish restaurants hit with fines for migrant workers

16 Jan 2013 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Employing migrant workers does not need to be problematic but businesses do need to make sure that the people they take on have the right to paid employment in Britain and are in possession of a UK work permit or equivalent documentation.

A restaurant in Aberdeenshire has found out the hard way that it can't get away with dodging these requirements.

The Spice Mill, located in Grandholm Village, was visited in March of last year by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) after the organisation received intelligence regarding the legality of the restaurants employees.

They found eight Bangladeshi men with no right to work in the UK at the restaurant. The Spice Mill was then forced to close after the enquiry as none of the staff were left to manage the operation.

A civil penalty charge of £25,000 has since been issued to the company. The bill could be increased after a second investigation discovered a further five Bangladeshi men working at the restaurant.

Adam Scarcliffe of the UKBA in Scotland commented: “Our officers are carrying out operations throughout Aberdeenshire to target unscrupulous employers who hire illegal workers, are undercutting wages and potentially exploiting vulnerable workers.

“The UKBA is happy to work with businesses and advise what checks need to be carried out on staff, but those who do break the law should know that they will face heavy fines like these businesses. Anyone with information on suspected immigrations offenders should contact us or call Crimestoppers.”

A number of other restaurants in the region were found to have been employing illegal workers after a wider investigation was launched. These included The Jewel in the Crown restaurant in Crown Street, which has been fined £8,750 for employing two Bangladeshi men and one Nepalese man illegally, while the Mr Wu takeaway on George Street was hit with a fine of £5,000 for employing a Chinese man illegally.