Six immigration arrests in West Sussex Operation

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Six immigration offenders were arrested by immigration enforcement officers in West Sussex, a spokesperson for the Home Office has confirmed.

Cottage Tandoori in West Street, Storrington; Indian Cottage in London Road, Ashington; and Cowfold Cottage Tandoori in The Street, Cowfold, were visited simultaneously at 6pm on Friday (November 18), the spokesperson said.

Three arrests were made at the Cottage Tandoori. The men – aged 36, 37 and 40 – were all from Bangladesh and all had overstayed their visas, confirmed the spokesperson.

Two Bangladeshi men, aged 33 and 53, were arrested at Indian Cottage and were found to have overstayed their visas, said the spokesperson.

A 38-year-old Bangladeshi man who had also overstayed his visa was arrested at Cowfold Cottage Tandoori, according to the spokesperson.

All six men have been detained pending their removal from the UK, the spokesperson said.

Four other men, two at Cottage Tandoori and two at Indian Cottage, were also found to be working illegally during the operation, confirmed the spokesperson.

The men, three Bangladeshi nationals aged 34, 33 and 26, and a 28-year-old from Myanmar, all have ongoing cases with the Home Office so were not arrested, but escorted from the premises. They must report regularly to Immigration Enforcement while their cases are dealt with, according to the spokesperson.

All three businesses have now been served notices warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker found 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, the spokesperson said.

This is a potential penalty of up to £100,000 for Cottage Tandoori, £80,000 for Indian Cottage and £20,000 for Cowfold Cottage.

Assistant Director Richard Lederle, head of the Kent and Sussex Immigration Enforcement team, said: “We do not expect businesses to be experts at spotting forged documents, that’s our job, and employers who take on immigration offenders through no fault of their own will not face any financial sanction.

“However, companies who either knowingly take on illegal workers or ignore their legal obligations to carry out pre-employment checks should expect to face fines.

“Their behaviour helps encourage illegal immigration.

“We are working hard to tackle illegal working and those who ignore the rules will face the consequences.”

Anyone 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.

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