Belfast restaurant hit by immigration enforcement raid

editorial image

Two foreign nationals have been arrested after a raid on an Indian eatery in Belfast.

Home Office officials visited the Archana Indian restaurant on the Dublin Road, south Belfast, at 5.30pm on Thursday to carry out checks on whether staff have the right to work in the UK.

The establishment describes itself as a “family-run restaurant” which has been serving “authentic Indian cusine [sic] since its inception in 1985”.

A 61-year-old woman from Georgia, a state lying to the south-western edge of Russia, was found to be working in the kitchen and was arrested.

A follow-up visit to a private address in west Belfast led to the arrest of a 41-year-old Georgian man.

The Home Office said it had been acting on intelligence.

A statement from the department read: “Both were found to have overstayed their visas and are currently in Home Office detention while steps are taken to remove them from the country.

“The business was served with a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £20,000 will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out on the woman.”

Mike Golden, deputy director of the department’s immigration enforcement team in Northern Ireland, called the arrests “a clear warning to those in Northern Ireland abusing our immigration laws.”

He added that anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can raise concerns online or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.