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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Border Agency warns Cumbrian firms over illegal workers

The UK Border Agency has singled out a west Cumbrian takeaway as it warns owners not to employ illegal workers.

They said businesses faced hefty fines and said 1,100 penalty notices were handed out and £7 million collected across the UK last year.

According to figures released by the agency yesterday, 17 businesses across the north west were prosecuted in three months late last year, including a Cleator Moor takeaway.

The owner of the Anamika Tandoori was jailed then deported after he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court and the business fined £12,500.

Khandaker Mohammad Wahiduzzaman, 50, was jailed for nearly two years last September after he provided accommodation and food to three men found working illegally in March. He admitted three offences of facilitating illegal working in the UK.

Anamika, on High Street, was raided in July 2010 and the business was initially issued with a potential fine notice for employing an illegal worker.

It failed to provide documentation and was later handed the £12,500 fine.

The takeaway was the only Cumbrian business to be fined for illegal workers between July and September last year, according to the regional figures.

Seventeen businesses were prosecuted across the north west, with the majority in Manchester.

Eddy Montgomery, operations director of the UK Border Agency in the north west, said: “Employers are responsible for carrying out document checks and we work with businesses to let them know what they need to do.

“Those who choose to break the law should know that we are looking for them and they will face heavy fines.”

The money collected by the agency last year was up £600,000 on 2010 when they seized £6.34m - and more than double 2009 when they collected £3.24m.

Immigration Minister Damian Green said illegal working damaged ‘social and economic consequences’ for the UK.

“It undercuts businesses that operate within the law, undermines British workers and exploits migrant workers.

“The message is clear for employers — we will not tolerate illegal working and we will take firm action against those who ignore the rules.”

Anyone with information on suspected immigration offenders can see how to report it at www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/

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