Immigration offenders arrested in Northern Ireland

24 October 2013

A Newcastle Co Down restaurant is facing a heavy financial penalty for employing a suspected illegal worker.

 
A 23-year-old Bangladeshi man was found working at the Exotikka Indian restaurant on Central Promenade, Newcastle, by Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers, who visited the premises last Friday (18 October) evening to check the immigration status of staff.
 
The man, who had overstayed his visa, was arrested and is now in detention while steps are taken to remove him from the country.
 
The business was issued with a civil penalty notice for employing the worker, meaning they are liable for a fine of up to £10,000 unless evidence is provided that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.
 
In other operations last week enforcement officers operating at Northern Ireland ferry ports and airports detected seven immigration offenders.
 
Five have since been removed from the country and two remain in detention while steps are taken to remove them also.
 
On Thursday 10 October, the Government published the Immigration Bill, which carries a number of proposals to clamp down on illegal working and rogue employers. These include potentially doubling the maximum penalty for those using illegal labour to £20,000 and making it easier to enforce unpaid debts in the civil courts.
 
The Government is also planning to simplify the right to work checks to make it easier for compliant employers to fulfil their responsibilities.
 
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said:
           
"Illegal working encourages illegal immigration, undercuts legitimate businesses and is often associated with exploitation.
“The existing illegal working regime isn’t simple enough; the penalties have remained the same since 2008 and don’t provide a sufficient deterrent; it is also too easy for companies to evade paying them.
 
"New legislation will increase the penalties for rogue businesses, make it easier to enforce payment, while also making it easier for legitimate businesses to verify individuals’ right to work.”
 
 
Every year, the Home Office imposes civil penalties on hundreds of companies which fail to carry out legally-required checks on their staff.
  
The Home Office provides support to employers so they can understand the rules, including visits by staff, a dedicated telephone helpline and website.
  
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visithttp://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or they can call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
 
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business or someone is living in the UK illegally can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
 
 
NOTES TO EDITORS
 
1.       Arrests are carried out by trained immigration officers who carry out operations at businesses and private addresses, acting on intelligence received from the public and other sources. All intelligence is protected.
 
2.       On Tuesday 26 March the Home Secretary announced that the UK Border Agency would be replaced by two new immigration commands within the Home Office- an immigration and visa service and an immigration law enforcement organisation. These changes came into effect on Monday 1 April 2013.
 
3.       For all the latest Home Office news visit www.gov.uk/home-office. follow the Home Office on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/ukhomeoffice.
 
4.       The Home Office is a member of the Organised Crime Task Force (OCTF) in Northern Ireland. The OCTF was established in 2000 to provide strategic direction for a multi-agency approach to tackling organised crime.  Chaired by Northern Ireland Justice Minister David Ford, the Task Force brings together representatives from Government, law enforcement and a wide range of other agencies.  It is a forum where partner agencies can discuss problems, share information and agree priorities

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