Police raids on five restaurants in London’s Chinatown have led to more than 30 arrests for illegal working, the Home Office has said.
The unannounced raids – part of the Border and Immigration Agency’s (BIA) ‘Operation Zavijava’ – were carried out yesterday in the Chinatown area of London’s West End.
The arrested employees were a mix of Chinese and Malaysian nationals – none of whom had permission to work in the UK. Enforcement teams from the BIA, assisted by officers from the Metropolitan Police, also seized documents relating to illegal working.
Steps will now be taken to remove the employees from the country, and the businesses involved could face fines for employing illegal workers.
Immigration minister Liam Byrne said: “We will not be a soft touch for those in Britain illegally. In fact, we will shut down illegal jobs and take action against dodgy employers. We’re doubling our enforcement resources, and now remove an immigration offender every eight minutes.”
Earlier this year, the Home Office announced an action plan to target rogue employers. The department has been in talks with industry on the implementation of tough new legislation – including prison sentences and/or unlimited fines for rogue employers.
The Home Office said that employers that are unclear on how to ensure they do not employ illegal employees should visit its employing migrant workers website.