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Five arrested in swoop on city restaurants
FIVE illegal workers have been caught during immigration raids on two Worcester restaurants.
The swoop by Home Office immigration enforcement officers took place yesterday at Pasha Indian Restaurant in St John’s, Worcester and at Ashley’s Indian Restaurant in The Tything.
The officers, acting on intelligence, first visited Pasha Restaurant where staff checks revealed two kitchen workers had no permission to be in the UK.
One, a 44-year-old Bangladeshi man, had entered the UK illegally and the second, a 33-year-old man from Afghanistan, was a failed asylum seeker.
The Bangladeshi is being interviewed on suspicion of ID offences while the Afghan has been detained pending his removal from the UK.
A spokesman for Worcestershire Regulatory Services also said environmental health officers visited Pasha yesterday to check concerns raised during the raids the previous day.
He said: “Officers are going to makes sure environmental health conditions at the restaurant are okay.”
A spokesman for West Mercia Police confirmed that a man had been arrested and was in the cells at Worcester Police Station in Castle Street.
A third member of staff was found to have an outstanding immigration application with the Home Office, but no right to work.
He was escorted from the premises. It is not the first time Pasha has been raided. We reported in July, 2011 how the UK Border Agency arrested two men at Pasha.
A man answering the phone at Pasha yesterday, who declined to be named, said accurate checks were carried out on the workers, who provided identification, before they were employed.
He said: “As far as we’re concerned these guys are allowed to work. I would rather not say anything.”
Officers subsequently visited Ashley’s Indian Restaurant in The Tything which was also raided in August, 2011.
Checks yesterday revealed that two Bangladeshi members of staff were working illegally.
A 29-year-old man was found to have overstayed his visa, while a 31-year-old man was working in breach of his visa conditions.
Both men have been released on immigration bail to report to the Home Office while work to remove them from the country is carried out.
Monwar Khandokar, from Ashley’s, said it was “a complete surprise” that they were targeted and added the restaurant had been left “bemused” by it.
He said one worker was a student they were helping out on a work placement, while the other was found to have falsified his personal details, including his national insurance, to get a job but had kept it secret from the management.
He also added that the curry house was a responsible employer and it was “a complete surprise” the false details hadn’t been picked up when filing accounts with HMRC.
He said he was “a responsible employer keen to enhance ties with the local community” and that small businesses are seen as “easy targets” by the Government.
Both businesses now face potential fines of up to £10,000 for each of the illegal workers unless they can demonstrate that appropriate pre-employment checks were carried out such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.
David Jones, from Home Office Immigration Enforcement, said: “Operations like this are carried out across the UK every day as we continue our work to track down and remove from the country those who seek to abuse the immigration laws.
“The public can be a huge help and I urge people with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”
Anyone with information about immigration crime can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit crimestoppers-uk.org Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or they can call the Home Office Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
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