A restaurant in Buckie is facing a fine of as much as £40,000 for employing four illegal workers.
Investigations conducted by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) resulted in a raid on China Town Restaurant on West Church Street on February 14th.
The Valentine's Day raid saw officers question the UK immigration statuses of all staff on site and a total of four people were found to be working illegally. They are two Chinese men aged 41 and 26, a 42-year-old Chinese woman and a 45-year-old Malaysian man. The authorities took all four of the employees in to detention where they are being held ahead of their removal from the country.
However, the business could be facing further difficulties before the matter is cleared up. It will be issued with a civil penalty notice for employing the four in question, but, more problematically, it could be hit with a fine of up to £10,000 for each illegal worker if it is unable to prove that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out before the overseas employees were hired.
These checks can be as simple as asking to see a Home Office document or a passport that proves the individual's right to live and work in the UK. While the UKBA shows some leniency towards businesses that willingly seek advice in these matters, those that disregard the law tend to be hit with heavy penalties.
Adam Scarcliffe from the agency commented on the matter: “Foreign nationals who are in this country illegally should be in no doubt that they will be found, arrested and removed from the UK.
“Employing illegal workers undercuts honest businesses and defrauds the public purse. There is no excuse for using illegal labour, and if businesses ignore our immigration laws, they face heavy fines.”