Illegal workers told 'raids will catch you'
OFFICERS from the UK Border Agency have warned foreign nationals working illegally in Plymouth they were planning "more raids" to catch them.
The warning was also made to those who knowingly employed such illegal workers and as well as those who failed to make the proper checks on immigration status.
Five officers, based at the Agency's offices in Ebrington Street, executed three warrants on Tuesday evening at a variety of locations both in and outside of Plymouth, as reported in The Herald.
At the Peking House in Westfield, Plympton, officers found two Chinese men – aged 41 and 40 – working in the kitchen, both of whom had no right to live and work in the UK.
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A 41-year-old man was found to have entered the UK illegally, possibly as far back as 2002, while the second, a 40-year-old man, was found to have stayed in the UK illegally after his visa – granted in October 2005 – expired on September 15, 2006.
The pair were later taken to Charles Cross police station for further questioning and were due to be transferred to immigration detention pending their removal from the UK.
Peking House could now face a fine of up to £20,000 – £10,000 per worker – for employing illegal staff.
Under legislation enacted since 2008 the takeaways employers must now prove that legally-required checks, such as taking copies of a passport or a Home Office document, were made on the men before they were taken on.
As a result of the arrests officers also carried out a search of a residential property in King Street, Stonehouse where the two men lived in a small bedsit.
At around 10.30pm on Tuesday immigration officers made inquiries at a number of premises in the Bretonside area, in accordance with another warrant. As a result, a 32-year-old Iranian man was found working at the Green Chilli takeaway in Bretonside. Checks by officers found he was a failed asylum seeker who had not left the UK after his claim for protection was turned down.
He was immediately stopped from working and told to continue reporting weekly to a local police station while efforts were made to remove him from the UK.
Richard Taylor, chief immigration officer at UK Border Agency, said many people came to work in the UK as part of the "black market", which saw employers avoid tax and national insurance payments, and flout health and safety legislation.
He said : "Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are legally entitles to work and undercutting law-abiding businesses.
"As Tuesday night's raids make clear, we gather intelligence about people breaking immigration laws and take action to stop them.
"We want the public to get in touch with us if they have any information about suspected illegal immigrants or the businesses employing them.
"We are sending a simple, clear message to people who are in the country illegally – more raids are planned and you will be caught."
Officers also executed a raid at the Modbury Chinese Takeaway, in Church Street earlier in the evening.
No arrests were made and all members of staff were found to have the right to work in the UK.
Mr Taylor added: "We are pleased that this employer had carried out the correct checks on his staff.
"As well as catching illegal workers, our job is to check that employers are following the rules and to help them to do so."
Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/