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Firms named and shamed over non-payment of Border Agency fines
Five Bradford businesses owing £28,750 in fines have been named and shamed by the UK Border Agency which has revealed that 70 raids have taken place across the district resulting in 69 arrests within 12 months.
The businesses have 28 days to pay their outstanding fines for employing illegal workers or face the bailiffs coming round.
It comes as the Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed that from October, 2011, to September, 2012, they made 70 enforcement visits including at the Steak Out Grill House, in Sticker Lane, Bradford.
During that visit two Pakistani men, 18 and 50, were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences after neither was found to have permission to work in the UK.
Ahmed Halal Meat, on Lilycroft Road, Chicking, on Manningham Lane, Dhoom Design, on White Abbey Road, and Kash Takeaway, on Leeds Road, are the latest businesses named on the Border Agency website because they each owe £5,000 for failing to comply with illegal working legislation. Awadh Restaurant on Manchester Road actually owes £8,750.
Because they have not paid their fines, they have 28 days to start paying or face further action.
Ian Milner, the head of enforcement operations, said they were trying to crack down on businesses in Bradford, with illegal workers taken to immigration centres or in some cases deported.
“It has such a big impact employing illegal workers and it distorts the local marketplace and defrauds the public purse,” he said.
“We receive very good community-led intelligence and do lots of work with West Yorkshire Police.
“There is no excuse for employing anyone illegally and there really is no mileage in doing it because we will find out and take action. Sanctions will be taken against the employer and the workers will then be in our spotlight.”
Bradford Council leader Councillor David Green said that those employing illegal workers did so to pay low wages or because they worked in dangerous conditions.
“Regardless of one’s view on immigration laws, I cannot think why people would employ people illegally and would be concerned about the safety of employees and goods being produced,” he said.
“In general terms, I am pleased that the UKBA is taking the issue seriously and we need to continue to be vigilant on this issue to make sure that employment is in both a safe and legal environment.”
When the Telegraph & Argus rang Chicking, a spokesman said the business had now changed its name to Chicking UK Limited.
He added: “The old business left in March.”
Athar Ali Khan, of Kash Takeaway, said he was not aware of any fine.
“I have not received anything,” he said.
“I will contact the Border Agency.”
Zahir Ahmed Khan, of Awadh Restaurant, was unavailable for comment as was Ahmed Halal Meat.
A spokesman for Dhoom Design denied employing illegal workers and said that they would be fighting the case.
The total amount of businesses named and shamed is 26 with a combined total of £181,250 in fines outstanding for North East Yorkshire and Humberside.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit the UK Border Agency website at ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/ aboutus/contact/report-crime.
In 2011 the agency served 1,100 penalty notices on employers, collecting £7 million in fines – up £600,000 on the previous year.