Six workers in Kent have been arrested by UK immigration forces following a number of operations designed to identify illegal workers in the area.
Last Friday (June 14th), Home Office enforcement teams investigated information they had received regarding Joshan of Wye in the town of Wye. All of the staff were checked regarding their UK immigration status and it was discovered that three men from Bangladesh were working illegally. Two of the individuals had not left the country when their UK visas expired and the third was working in break of his UK visa conditions.
Further investigations concerning JS Mini Mart in Rochester and Family Bargains in Gillingham revealed a 49-year-old Sri Lankan man who had no right to work in the UK and two 26-year-olds from India who had been working illegally after their UK visas expired.
Louise Whiteoak, from the Home Office immigration enforcement team in Kent and Sussex, commented: “'The message to employers in Kent who choose to use illegal labour is clear. We will catch you and you could face a heavy penalty. Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.
“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will face heavy fines.”
The three businesses concerned have been handed warnings for employing illegal workers. If they want to avoid the potential fines of £10,000 for each illegal worker they will need to provide Home Office officials with evidence that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out. These can be as simple as asking to see immigration documents and passports, but every company has the responsibility of ensuring that their workers have the right to employment in UK.