High fines for hir­ing il­le­gal work­ers

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - QASIM PERACHA

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.

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