Immigration Raids Becoming a Regular Occurrence in the UK

Following our news report last week, news reports today suggest that a Chinese takeaway was raided by a team from the Home Office who were accompanied by officers from Cambridge Constabulary. The Chinese takeaway in Main Street was raided on 28 May 2014, immigration raids are becoming a regular occurrence in the UK. Employers have a duty to prevent illegal working and this is done by identifying potential employees who require permission to work in the UK and undertaking prescribed document checks before and during employment. Failure to do so could result in criminal and civil penalties for employers including fines and even imprisonment.

Chinese Takeaway Faces Potential Fine of £60,000

Staff at the ‘Happy House’ Chinese takeaway were questioned to check if they had the right to work in the UK. Three people were arrested, two Chinese men, aged 34 and 43, and a 60-year-old Malaysian woman. All three were found to be in the UK illegally. The eldest man and the woman have since been released on immigration bail and are required to report to the Home Office whilst the progression of their cases. The 34 year old man is still being detained as further investigation is being taken into his case.

The changes to the civil penalty code came into force on 16 May 2014. Under the the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 employers are made aware of their responsibilities to prevent illegal working by ensuring that their employees have the right to work in the UK. However, if employers do not follow the necessary checks and employ an individual who does not have the right to work in the UK, they will face a civil penalty of £20,000 per worker. With the new code of practice already in effect, employers have new procedures to follow. The Happy House now face a potential fine of £60,000.

Fines for UK Businesses Employing ‘Illegal’ Workers Up by 31% to £14m

In news reports earlier this year, it was revealed that UK companies who were found employing illegal migrant workers, were fined more than £14m last year; this is a 31% increase on 2012. Information data obtained by employment services provider Parasol under the Freedom of Information Act, shows that 1,822 civil penalty notices were issued to UK-based employers between January and December 2013. This 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.”

Immigration Legal Advice for UK Employers & Illegal Workers

If you are a UK business and have been affected by the Home Office’s raids, contact us to discuss this further. Business owners sponsoring migrants from outside the EEA must ensure that they are legally registered to sponsor 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.

Illegal migrants with strong Human Rights arguments ought to take legal advice and regularise their stay in the UK as soon as possible and before it is too late. Contact us to discuss your immigration situation and we will assess your case and provide you with options of regularising your stay.

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