26 October 2010

Gwent raids discover 18 UK immigration offenders

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A week of raids by UK Border Agency officers across Gwent has found 18 UK immigration offenders at separate business premises.

Enforcement visits were carried out at seven businesses in Newport, Abergavenny and Abertillery  based on intelligence received of employees working without a UK Visa.

On 13 October, officers found a 29-year-old Pakistani man who had entered the UK illegally working behind the counter at Nisa Stores, Aberthaw Rise, Newport.

Four Chinese immigration offenders were found at Sing Lee, Cross Street, Abergavenny: three men aged 31, 33 and 36 were working illegally in the kitchen, while a 36-year-old man was found in attached accommodation.

At USA Nails, Commercial Street, Newport, three Vietnamese men aged 19, 20 and 36, were found to be failed asylum seekers who had not left the UK when their claims for protection were turned down.

On 14 October, two Pakistani men aged 23 and 26 were found working illegally at Shahbaz Tikka, Commercial Road, Newport.

At Hot Spot, Carmel Street, Abertillery a 46-year-old man from Pakistan, who was working behind the counter, was found to have stayed in the UK illegally after his UK visa expired.

On 16 October at Hand Car Wash, Chepstow Road, Newport everyone working washing cars at the time of the raid had no permission to work in the UK. The six offenders were three men from Iraq aged 22, 27 and 28, an 18-year-old from Iran, a 30-year-old from Ghana and a 20-year-old from Palestine. The premises closed after officers left because no-one was left to serve customers.

Also on 16 October at Hand Car Wash, Cromwell Road, Newport a 24-year-old Iraqi man was found working on the car wash forecourt. He was a failed asylum seeker with no legal right to work in the UK.

All seven businesses have been issued civil penalty notices for the immigration offenders who were seen working at each address. If the employer fails to provide evidence that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out on the offenders, a fine of up to £10,000 for illegal worker will be imposed.

David Griffiths, head of Gwent local UK immigration team, said: “As this successful series of enforcement visits across Gwent shows, we are committed to tracking down immigration offenders wherever they are.

"Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work. Businesses which operate outside the law should be warned that they will be found out,” he said.

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