TWO curry house owners face £20,000 fines for employing illegal immigrants.
Immigration enforcement officers from the Home Office raided restaurants in Hockley and Pitsea to uncover two Bangladeshis who were working illegally.
Steps are now being taken to remove them from the UK.
Investigators raided Shuhag Tandoori in Southend Road, Hockley, and found a 24-year-old member of staff was breaching his visa conditions. He has been detained by officers while they work to send him home.
Officers then moved on to the Dil Tandoori in High Road, Pitsea, where checks on staff revealed a 34-year-old man had overstayed his visa. He is currently on immigration bail while officers prepare to send him back to Bangladesh.
Both firms could be fined up to £20,000 unless the owners can demonstrate appropriate preemployment checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.
Debra Johnson, from the Home Office’s immigration enforcement team, said: “Operations like these are carried out across the UK every day as our work to arrest, detain and remove immigration offenders from the UK continues.
“Employers who use illegal labour are cheating the taxpayer, undercutting genuine employers and denying legitimate job hunters work. Those who wilfully flout the rules will face heavy financial penalties.
“I would urge anyone with detailed and specific information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch.”
Abdul Hamid, who owns Shuhag Tandoori, said he didn’t know his employee was not allowed to work in the UK.
He said: “All I know is he was a student and was in to fill in for someone who was ill. We didn’t know it would break his visa conditions otherwise we wouldn’t have employed him.”
The Echo tried to call Dil Tandoori for comment, but they were unavailable.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can report it by visiting gov.uk/report-immigrationcrime