Newry restaurant facing huge fine
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
THE Imperial City Chinese Buffet, Newry, is facing a £60,000 penalty after six workers were arrested following a raid by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited The Quays based restaurant on Thursday, February 20, and questioned staff to check whether they had the right to work in the UK.
They arrested three Chinese women aged between 25 and 51 and two Chinese men aged 44 and 51 who were working illegally, having entered the country illegally. Officers also arrested a 26-year-old Taiwanese woman who had overstayed her visa.
They have all been transferred to immigration detention pending removal from the UK. Following the arrests the business closed for the evening.
One witness said that when the officers arrived at the buffet the workers "ran all over the place and tried to make it to the emergency exits".
Imperial City will now be served a notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
Speaking to the Democrat the manager
of the Chinese restaurant, Sonya Ma claimed that the workers had showed her their passports.
“I do check that they are allowed to work and I check their passports. I don't want to put myself into this situation," she said.
“We want to give local people job opportunities but they don't want to work more hours. I spent £300,000 for the premises and we only started last year.
“If I knew (that the workers were illegal) I wouldn't have put myself in this risk.
“The Home Office should help us but they are trying to close us down. If they can give me workers who want to work I can give these people jobs.
“I have three children and if they fine us we will have to close down. The economy is getting worse and closing us will not help.
“I'm trying to contribute to this county. I'm calling for help."
The Imperial City Chinese Buffet is currently open as normal.
Assistant Director Mike Golden, from the Home Office's Northern Ireland Immigration Enforcement Team, said: "We are working hard to track down people breaking the UK's immigration laws and carry out regular operations across Northern Ireland.
“Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.
“Information from the public can be a huge help in our work and I would urge members of the public with information about suspected immigration abuse to get in touch."
Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or they can call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Anyone with information on suspected immigration offenders can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Send to a friend
Please complete the following form to inform a friend about this page.