Illegal immigrants have been discovered working in two Northern Ireland takeaway businesses.
The businesses are both located in Co. Londonderry and are facing potential penalties totalling £120,000 after immigration offenders were found working at their premises.
In intelligence led operations, Immigration Enforcement officers visited Chopsticks, The Diamond, Portstewart on Thursday September 28 and B.J.’S Four Seasons, Great James Street, Londonderry on Saturday September 30.
The businesses will each be served a referral notice in relation to the illegal workers.
The notice warns that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker arrested will be imposed unless the employers 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. If proof is not provided, this is a potential total of up to £80,000 for Chopsticks, and £40,000 B.J.’S Four Seasons.
Mike Golden, from Immigration Enforcement in Northern Ireland, said:
"Those who use and exploit illegal workers face severe financial penalties.
"We are happy to work with businesses to ensure the right pre-employment checks are carried out, but those intent on operating outside the law will be found and will be punished.”
Three women and a man from China were arrested at Chopsticks after it was found they had overstayed their visas.
Two of the women, aged 20 and 39, and a 43-year-old man must now report regularly to Immigration Enforcement while their cases are progressed. A 57-year-old woman is currently in detention while steps are taken to remove her from the UK.
Two men from Malaysia, aged 45 and 63, who were in the UK illegally, were arrested at B.J.’S Four Seasons. They have also been detained pending their removal from the UK.
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.