Illegal workers are ‘providing fake IDs’ say restaurant owners after Border Agency crackdown (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Illegal workers are ‘providing fake IDs’ say restaurant owners after Border Agency crackdown
RESTAURANT owners are being fooled into employing illegal workers by sophisticated counterfeit IDs, a manager claims.
Four Bangladeshi waiting and kitchen staff were arrested at Cinnamon in Victoria Road, Ferndown, during a series of UK Border Agency raids last week.
The business now faces a fine of up to £10,000 per worker unless it can prove the proper right-to-work checks were carried out.
Manager Mo Islam said two of the workers had only started the night before the raid, and he was waiting for their IDs to be provided.
He said the other two had provided fake passports as identification.
“People don’t understand why this happens; it is a huge problem for all caterers at the moment,” he said.
“We don’t have equipment for checking whether these documents are genuine, and they look exactly the same.
“One of them even provided a National Insurance number and we started paying tax on it.
“It is a problem for us employing these people as you don’t know what you are getting.
“We have all the paperwork so hopefully we shouldn’t have any further problems from this, but I don’t know what can be done about the wider problem.”
Three of the workers, aged 22, 35 and 38, were arrested for outstaying their visas and the fourth, aged 33, for entering the UK illegally.
On the same evening, a 35-year-old Nepalese man working in the kitchens at Gurkha 2 in Christ-church Road, Boscombe, was found to have outstayed his visa and also arrested.
Earlier that week officers caught a 29-year-old man from Pakistan selling handbags illegally from a stand in Poole’s Dolphin Centre.
Checks revealed he was working in breach of his student visa.
Four of the men have been detained to await removal from the UK, while two were released to report weekly to police while arrangements are made for their removal.
Phil Reay, from the UK Border Agency, said: “We are creating a hostile environment for illegal immigrants, and offenders should know that there is no hiding place in Dorset.”
Ferndown councillor Steve Lugg said: “If illegal workers are conning businesses into taking them on it is a big problem.
“Unless it is proved otherwise, as a councillor I feel we need to be getting behind these businesses. Times are tough, and with all the legislation and checks businesses have to wade through on this issue it is very hard for them to be experts.”
To report suspected immigration offenders visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/ report-crime