Four arrested as curry house is targeted

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Four immigration offenders have been arrested during an operation at a curry house in Haywards Heath, the Home Office in Sussex has reported.

Immigration Enforcement officers, who acted on intelligence visited Balti House, in South Road, Haywards Heath, last Thursday (November 3).

Staff were questioned to establish whether they had the right to live and work in the UK, the Home Office said.

Officers arrested four men, all from Bangladesh, and aged between 22 and 55 years old.

All had overstayed their respective visas - two were students, one a domestic worker and the fourth was in the UK as a visitor, the Home Office confirmed.

All four remain in immigration detention pending their removal from the UK.

Assistant director, Richard Lederle, head of the Kent and Sussex Immigration Enforcement team, said: “We are working hard to tackle illegal working and those who abuse the UK’s immigration system.

“Using illegal labour is not victimless crime. It defrauds the Treasury, depriving vital public services like schools and hospitals of funds, it undercuts honest businesses and it cheats legitimate job seekers of employment opportunities. It also exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

“We are happy to work with employers who want to play by the rules. However, those who attempt to cheat the rules can expect to be caught and to face stiff financial consequences.”

A further three Bangladeshi men, aged between 36 and 55 years old were also found working illegally, the Home Office said.

The men were not arrested, but escorted from the premises and must report regularly to the Home Office while their cases are dealt with.

The curry house has been served with a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker found will be imposed unless they 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 - this is a potential total of up to £140,000.

Officers also seized an amount of cash under the Proceeds of Crime Act which was suspected to be the proceeds of illegal working.

Forfeiture of the money will now be requested, which if successful will see the funds transferred to the public purse, the Home Office said.

Information to help employers carry out checks to prevent illegal working and a quick answer right-to-work tool to help employers check if someone has the right to work in the UK can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties

People with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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