Immigration enforcement officers have arrested two men and two woman at a South West London restaurant over suspicions that they have been working without a UK visa.
The enforcement team visited the restaurant, China Boulevard in Smuggler's Way, Battersea, on 16 March at around midday, reported the Wandsworth Guardian. They questioned the staff present regarding their right to live and work in the country.
As a result of the questioning four individuals were arrested and one further man was escorted off the premises. The two men arrested have been detained ahead of their removal from the country, while the two women have been ordered to report to Immigration Enforcement on a regular basis before they are also removed from the country.
Meanwhile, the restaurant could be forced to pay a financial penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker unless it is able to prove that the legally required checks on documentation were carried out prior to hiring the individuals.
Head of the South London Immigration Enforcement team, Graham Blackwood, warned that illegal employment is not victimless, noting that it undercuts honest business, cheats legitimate job seekers and defrauds the treatsury. He added: “Businesses in south London which employ illegal workers should be under no illusions, our officers carry out regular operations and anyone trying to cheat the rules will be caught.”
The government is working hard to crack down on illegal immigration and is working with businesses to make sure they're doing their bit. Companies that can demonstrate that they carried out the required 'right to work' checks before hiring someone will be supported, but those that don't are at risk of being issued a civil penalty notice of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker.
There is the further threat that the company's details can be published by Immigration Enforcement as a deterrent to other businesses.