Three immigration offenders arrested in Northern Ireland food outlets

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Three immigration offenders have been arrested by Immigration Enforcement officers in Counties Antrim and Down.

In an operation yesterday (Thursday, January 12), officers visited The Money Tree in Sloan Street, Lisburn and questioned staff at the Chinese takeaway to establish whether they had the right to live and work in the UK.

Two Chinese men, aged 48 and 63, who were found to be in the country illegally were arrested.

In a previous operation in Newcastle on Saturday, January 7, officers visited New Cinnamon, Downs Road.

A 30-year-old Bangladeshi man found working in the kitchen of the Indian restaurant was arrested when it was discovered he was in the country illegally.

All three men are currently in detention while steps are taken to remove them from the UK.

The Money Tree and New Cinnamon were each served a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker will be imposed unless the employer 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 £40,000 for The Money Tree and £20,000 for New Cinnamon Club.

Mike Golden, from Immigration Enforcement in Northern Ireland, said: “We are working hard to tackle illegal working and those who abuse the UK’s immigration system.

“Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It cheats the taxpayer, meaning less money is available for vital public services, undercuts honest employers and denies legitimate job seekers employment opportunities. It also exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.

“We expect everyone here illegally to leave the UK voluntarily. For those who don’t the message is clear - we will find, detain and remove you.”