High fines for hiring illegal workers
LATEST government figures show businesses in London were fined more than £400,000 for hiring illegal workers in a three-month period.
The figures, released by the Home Office this month, show a total of 19 businesses were fined a total of £437,000 between October 1 and December 21, 2017.
Among the businesses from Westminster to Uxbridge that were fined are hotels, restaurants and a dry cleaner.
Each business that is found to have hired a person who does not have the legal right to work in the UK, can be fined up to £20,000 per employee.
In west London, over a threemonth period, 10 of the 19 businesses fined were in the hospitality industry, while four are retailers such as supermarkets or offlicences.
Ealing had the highest number of businesses fined, when broken down by borough, while Hammersmith and Fulham , Kensington and Chelsea and Harrow each had just one business caught hiring illegal workers in the three-month period.
Employers are required to check that each person they hire has a legal right to work in the UK. If the Home Office finds the correct checks were not carried out, employers will be sent a referral notice while the case is investigated, before being issued with a civil penalty notice.
The highest fine of £60,000 was issued against three restaurants, Taste of Lahore in West Ealing, Hounslow Lahori Karahi in Feltham and South Ealing Dosa in South Ealing.
The heavy fines being handed out may be behind the closures of at least five of the businesses included in the list (pictured right).
GetWestlLondon understands that Knightsbridge Green Hotel, The Grand Junction Arms, Keyona Supermarket, Four Seasons Security and South Ealing Dosa have all closed in the months since receiving the fines from the Home Office.
The owner at Noble House Dry Cleaners and Laundry in Earls Court said that he had believed that the person he employed had the right to work in the UK at the time, but that it had expired some time later. He said he has appealed his £10,000 fine but was unsuccessful.
“He wasn’t illegal, he was a student and I offered him the right type of employment to fit his visa requirements, 12-14 hours a week,” said the owner.
“I paid him through my accountant. If I had wanted to hire an illegal worker, why would I have gone through my accountant and involved my bank?
“I hire lots of foreign workers and am always careful to check their documents.”
K5 Lounge and Hounslow Lahori Karahi denied the fines had ever been given, despite details of the fine being visible to the public on a government web portal.
Despite attempts to reach out, GetWestlLondon was unable to reach the owners of Pimlico Tandoori, Crystal Food and Wine, J S Randhawa and J K Randhawa and B S Laly and J K Laly and Jas Food and Wine. We were also unable to contact Banane Nafeh or Quintan Jeyapalan.
All other businesses were contacted and given the opportunity to comment.
Over the three-month period from July to September 2017, 21 businesses in West London were fined a total of £465,000 for hiring illegal workers.
The list of employers included Imperial College Healthcare Trust and home care provider Elite Specialist Care.
In the last six months of 2017, a total of 40 businesses in west London were fined for hiring illegal workers, with Home Office fines totalling £902,000.