Two individuals have been arrested in Maidstone after a raid by UK immigration officials revealed that they had failed to leave the country when their UK visas ran out.
The raid, conducted by UK Border Agency (UKBA) officers, focused on the Ghurkha Restaurant on Week Street. Investigations revealed that two men from Nepal were working their on expired visas.
The 51-year-old and the 29-year-old were held in immigration detention before being removed from the country on November 23rd and December 5th respectively.
Jackie Fowler, head of the local immigration team in Kent for the UKBA, commented: “Our message to people who are in the UK illegally is that they must leave. As this case shows, we will take action to remove those who break the law. Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are legally entitled to work and undercutting law-abiding businesses.”
The restaurant has since been handed a penalty notice for employing illegal workers. There is a further possibility that it will be hit with a fine for up to £20,000 (£10,000 for each worker) if it is unable to produce evidence that it conducted the required right-to-work checks on the two men before taking them on. This can be as simple as requesting to see a passport or a Home Office document but is required by law.
The news from Maidstone comes shortly after raids in New Romney found two men from Bangladesh, aged 22 and 29, were also working illegally after they failed to leave the country upon the expiration of their visas.
One offender remains in immigration detention, while the other has been removed from the country. The Curry Lounge, the employer, has been handed the same penalty as the Ghurkha Restaurant and is also at risk of being hit with a £20,000 fine if it cannot prove it conducted the pre-employment checks on the two members of staff.