FIVE men from Bangladesh have been arrested for immigration offences during a Home Office operation at an Indian restaurant in Newton Abbot.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited Eastern Eye, Queen Street, on Friday, October 11 and carried out checks on staff.
Four of the men, aged between 23 and 29, were found to have overstayed their visas. A fifth man, 23, was found to have entered the UK illegally.
All five men are now detained pending their removal from the country.
The Home Office has confirmed that the owners of Eastern Eye will be served with a civil penalty notice for employing the five illegal workers.
This means they will be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker unless proof is provided that the correct right to work checks were carried out, such as seeing a Home Office document or passport. This is a potential total fine of £50,000.
Last week the Government published its Immigration Bill, which aims to crackdown on illegal working and rogue employers.
The measures include potentially doubling the maximum penalty for those using illegal labour to £20,000 and making it easier to enforce unpaid debts in the civil courts.
The Government is also planning to simplify the right to work checks.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: “Illegal working encourages illegal immigration, undercuts legitimate businesses and is often associated with exploitation.
“The existing illegal working regime isn’t simple enough; the penalties have remained the same since 2008 and don’t provide a sufficient deterrent; it is also too easy for companies to evade paying them.
“New legislation will increase the penalties for rogue businesses, make it easier to enforce payment, while also making it easier for legitimate businesses to verify individuals’ right to work.”
The Home Office provides support to employers so they can understand the rules, including visits by staff, a dedicated telephone helpline and website.
To avoid employing illegal workers visit www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.