A cash and carry business based in Reading could be hit with a fine of up to £40,000 for employing workers without the required UK work permits.
Thames Cash & Carry Ltd was visited by Home Office immigration officials earlier this week (Tuesday, November 26th) after officers received intelligence that questioned the immigration status of some of the firm's employees.
After questioning workers, four people were arrested. Two Indian nationals were found to have overstayed their UK visas, one Cameroonian national was found to be a failed asylum seeker, and another Indian national was shown to be working in breach of his visa conditions.
The Indian national who was working in breach of his visa conditions and the Cameroonian man have both been transferred to immigration detention and will be removed from the country when their paperwork has been processed. The other two Indian men could also be removed from the country if they are shown to have no leave to remain, but for now they have been placed on immigration bail.
Things could be serious for the business involved, however. The company has already been served with a warning notice over a civil penalty but it could be charged a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker if it is unable to provide the authorities with proof that the required right-to-work checks were carried out.
Thames Valley and Surrey immigration enforcement team member, Paul Smith, said that the fines are not designed to catch people who are trying their best to follow the rules. He continued: "Businesses in Berkshire that follow the rules have nothing to fear, but those who either deliberately employ people with no right to work or fail to carry out the legally required checks on their staff should expect to face heavy financial penalties.
"Illegal working has a negative impact on communities. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities."