Four Restaurant Directors Disqualified for Hiring Illegal Migrants

Today, it was reported that a Manchester based Restaurant owner has been disqualified as a director, after being was found guilty of breaking Immigration laws by employing illegal migrants. Cho Nam Kwan, was fined £35,000 for hiring seven illegal migrants at his Tai Pan restaurant in Liverpool. Illegal working often results in abusive and exploitative behaviour, the mistreatment of illegal migrant workers, tax evasion and illegal housing conditions. It can also undercut legitimate businesses and have an adverse impact on the employment of people who are lawfully in the UK.

Business Minister Jo Swinson: Employing Illegal Workers Damage their Local Economy

Is an employer, you have a responsibility to prevent illegal working in the UK by ensuring that your employees have the right to work in the UK. The illegal working provisions of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (‘the Act’) came into force on 29 February 2008. Under Section 15 of the Act, the Secretary of State is allowed serve employers with a notice requiring the payment of a penalty of a specified amount where they employ a person aged 16 or over who is subject to immigration control.

After Cho Nam Kwan failed to pay the penalty of £35,000, he has been disqualified as a director for six years. This means that he cannot manage or control a business until 2020.  Kwan, along with three other directors who employed a total of 15 illegal migrants have all lost their licences to run restaurants. This is due to a joint operation between the Insolvency Service and Home Office Immigration Enforcement. All four restaurants were visited by Home Office Immigration Enforcement in 2012 when the illegal workers were discovered.

Business Minister Jo Swinson, stated that she hopes this is a clear warning to UK employers who think they are above the law: 

“People who employ illegal workers are not only breaking the law, they are also damaging their local economy. From stopping people from getting honest jobs to undermining businesses in their communities, the costs are huge. These four disqualifications give a strong warning that the government is determined to stamp out these illegal practices and will take tough action against anyone flouting the law.”

UK Businesses Need to Carry out Thorough Immigration Checks

Statistics show that 1,822 civil penalty notices were issued to British employers between January and December 2013 which represents a 50% increase on the previous 12 months, when 1,216 penalties were imposed. The value of penalties issued – £14,107,750 – was up 31% on the £10,775,500 recouped by the Home Office in 2012.

Speaking on the data, Derek Kelly, managing director of Parasol stated:

“These findings illustrate the heightened level of scrutiny that employers are now under when it comes to illegal working. More than ever, it’s vital that companies carry out thorough checks and follow the correct procedures when hiring foreign nationals.”

The Home Office has revised the list of documents into two parts list A and B.

List A: Details the documents needed for checking purposes for a person who has a permanent right to work in the UK. The statutory excuse will be for the whole duration of the employee’s employment with the business because there are no restrictions on their permission to be in the UK. They do not have to repeat the right to work check.

List B: Details the documents needed for checking purposes for a person who has temporary right to work in the UK. The statutory excuse will be limited because the employee has restrictions on their permission to be in the UK and to do the work in question.

Immigration Legal Advice for UK Employers

If you are a UK business and have been affected by the Home Office’s raids, contact us to discuss this further. Business owners / Directors sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor these migrants and must have a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship Licence. If the Home Office has contacted you in relation to carrying out a compliance visit at your business premises, contact us for legal advice.

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