A Berwick restaurant is facing a £20,000 fine after illegal workers were found on its premises during a Home Office immigration operation.
Acting on intelligence, immigration enforcement officers visited Villa Spice at the Ravensholme Hotel in Ravensdowne at 5.35pm last Thursday, when individuals were questioned to check if they had the right to be in the UK.
Two Bangladeshi men were arrested. One, aged 26, had overstayed his visa, while a 37-year-old was found to be an immigration offender. Both men were detained pending removal from the country.
The business was served notices warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker arrested will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
Wallace Wilson, from the Home Office North East and Cumbria Immigration Enforcement team, said: “Our enforcement teams carry out operations like this almost every day in the north east and Cumbria and we have no intention of slowing down.
“These arrests are a stark warning to anyone who is in the UK illegally. We will catch up with and you will face arrest, detention and removal from the country.
“If you are a business you must carry out the correct checks on your staff or you could end up with a heavy fine.”
He added: “I would encourage anyone with detailed and specific information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”
This is not the first time that immigration officers have swooped on the restaurant. The latest arrests come just 17 months after a previous intelligence-led operation when three Bangladeshi men were found to be working at the Villa Spice illegally.
The men, aged 29, 31 and 44, were arrested following an enforcement operation on April 20, 2012. None had permission to work in the UK.
A fourth Bangladeshi man, aged 28, found in the rear of the building, was also arrested on immigration offences last year.