A RESTAURANT is facing a £20,000 fine after being accused of employing two illegal immigrants.
Home Office immigration enforcement officers received a tip off and swooped in unexpected at A2 Indian Takeaway, Gosport Road, Fareham, on Wednesday night.
Two Bangladeshi men, both aged 33, were arrested – one for overstaying his visa, while the other is believed to have entered the country illegally. They were transferred to immigration detention pending removal from the country.
A2 Indian Takeaway was served a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker will be imposed unless proof is provided to show the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
The arrests came as the Home Office introduced new legislation to reform immigration laws and crack down on illegal workers.
The Immigration Bill was agreed yesterday.
Immigration minister Mark Harper said: ‘Illegal working encourages illegal immigration, undercuts legitimate businesses and is often associated with exploitation. The existing illegal working regime isn’t simple enough.
‘The new legislation will increase the penalties for rogue businesses, make it easier to enforce payment, while making it easier for legitimate businesses to verify individuals’ right to work.’
A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘Our teams carry out visits like this one almost every day, with more planned.
‘Illegal working has a serious impact on communities.
‘We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made but those who break the law should know they will face financial penalties.’
A spokesman for A2 Indian Takeaway said the owner plans to fight the fine.
He claimed that only one of the men had been working at the restaurant, and the other had been making a delivery on behalf of a supplier.
He said the worker had been employed for one week and had shown a photocopy of his passport, and said he would bring it in the following week.
The spokesman said: ‘They have never had immigration in before.
‘It was the owner’s first time. He was very shocked and it was very scary.’