Illegal workers arrested at restaurant

THREE chefs and a delivery driver have been arrested at a Suffolk restaurant after an immigration swoop.

Russell Claydon

THREE chefs and a delivery driver have been arrested at a Sudbury restaurant after an immigration swoop.

Officials from the UK Border Agency carried out the raid on Hot Wok in North Street.

Checks on the immigration status of staff revealed three of the restaurant's chefs were living in the UK illegally.

The men - aged 19, 24 and 33 - are all illegal entrants from China.

While the visit - on Sunday evening - was being carried out a fourth member of staff, a 59-year-old delivery driver from Malaysia, arrived. Subsequent checks revealed that he had overstayed his visa and was also in the UK without permission.

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All four men have been detained while arrangements are made for their removal from the UK.

The operation coincides with a large-scale advertising campaign warning bosses of the heavy fines if caught employing illegal foreign labour.

Hot Wok now faces a potential fine of up to �40,000 - �10,000 per member of staff - unless it can prove that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out.

Chief immigration officer Jack Davis, from the agency's local immigration team, said: “These arrests are part of an ongoing clampdown on illegal working in Suffolk to reduce the attractiveness of the UK to illegal immigrants. Anyone in Suffolk who takes on a foreign national without permission to work in the UK is breaking the law, undermining law abiding businesses and faces a big fine.

“Last year alone, we issued fines worth approximately �165,000 to 16 businesses in Suffolk.

“There are strict rules about which foreign nationals can get a job in the UK and businesses have a clear responsibility to carry out the right checks.”

A tough new civil penalty system was introduced in 2008 to provide a fast and effective way of tackling bosses who fail to carry out proper checks on workers from outside Europe. A fine of up to �10,000 per worker can be imposed for every illegal worker found at a business.

Guidance for employers on preventing illegal working can be found on the UK Border Agency website, or by calling the UK Border Agency Employers Helpline on 0845 010 6677.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed in Suffolk should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.