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Employers: Six immigration offenders caught at Kent stores

22 March 2013

Six illegal workers have been caught following UK Border Agency raids at three shops in Kent.

Acting on intelligence received UK Border Agency officers targeted 3 Kent Mart stores on 14 March.

The first visit was to Kent Mart, Leysdown on Sea, Sheerness where officers checked the immigration status of the staff and found 3 men working illegally.

A 28-year-old from Sri Lanka was working in breach of his visa conditions. Two from India and aged 34 and 33, were found not to have left the UK when their visas expired.

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The Sri Lankan and the 34 year-old remain in immigration detention pending their removal from the UK. The second man from India was granted immigration bail while his case is considered by the agency. If he is found to have no right to remain in the country he will also face removal.

A second visit by officers to a Kent Mart store in Lunsford Lane, Larkfield, Aylesford, revealed a 35-year-old man from India working illegally after checks showed he had not left the UK when his visa expired. He remains in immigration pending his removal from the UK.

Later the same day officers went to Kent Mart in Marden, where officers checked the immigration status of the staff and found 2 men - a 23-year-old from India and a Sri Lankan aged 38 - who have cases outstanding with the agency but who have no permission to work in the UK.

Jackie Fowler, UK Border Agency, said:

'We are determined to stamp out abuse of the immigration system.

'We want the public to contact us if they have any information on businesses or people who are breaking immigration law.

'Employers who take on illegal workers are both fuelling illegal immigration and undercutting businesses which play by the rules.'

All 3 businesses have been handed penalty notices for employing illegal workers. To avoid fines of up to £10,000 per employee the employers must provide evidence must be provided that the correct pre-employment checks were made on the men - such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.

Every year, the UK Border Agency imposes civil penalties on hundreds of companies which fail to carry out legally-required checks on their staff.

The agency provides support to employers so they can understand the rules, including visits by staff, a dedicated telephone helpline and website.

Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit our Preventing illegal working pages, or they can call the agency's employers helpline on 0300 123 4699.

Anyone with information about immigration offenders can report crime on this website, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.