Take-away businesses in Counties Antrim and Armagh are facing hefty fines after Immigration Enforcement officers found illegal workers at the premises.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited Spice House on Thomas Street Portadown on Saturday, October 15 and questioned staff to establish whether they had the right to live and work in the UK.
A 26-year-old Pakistan national who had overstayed his visa to join his spouse was arrested. He is currently in immigration detention pending removal from the UK.
Later that night officers visited Cam Hing on Longstone Street, Lisburn.
Two Chinese nationals were found working illegally, one was a 39-year-old man who is a failed asylum seeker and the other was a 47-year-old woman who has an outstanding immigration application. Both had no permission to work and were escorted from the premises. They must now report to Immigration Enforcement regularly whilst their cases are progressed.
Spice House and Cam Hing were each served a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker will be imposed unless the employer can demonstrate that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work.
This is a potential penalty of up to £20,000 for Spice House and £40,000 for Cam Hing.
Mike Golden, from Immigration Enforcement in Northern Ireland, said: “We are working hard to tackle illegal working and those who abuse the UK’s immigration system.
“Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It cheats the taxpayer, meaning less money is available for vital public services, undercuts honest employers and denies legitimate job seekers employment opportunities. It also exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.
“We expect everyone here illegally to leave the UK voluntarily. For those who don’t the message is clear - we will find, detain and remove you.”
People with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Information to help employers carry out checks to prevent illegal working can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties
It includes a quick answer right-to-work tool to help employers check if someone has the right to work in the UK.