Businesses fined over illegal workers

FOUR North-east businesses have been fined more than £28,000 for using illegal workers.

The restaurants and takeaways were raided by the UK Border Agency in late 2011 and in January this year as part of a crackdown on illegal workers and low wages.

Porto Rico’s in Ladeside Road, Port Elphinstone was fined £10,000, Porto Rico’s in Broad Street, Peterhead £8,750, Massala Garden, Brighton Place, Peterculter, and Spice Cottage, South Road, Oldmledrum, were each fined £5,000.

Officers visited the Port Elphinstone premises in August, 2011, and discovered three Pakistani men with no right to work in the UK.

One Bangladeshi man was working illegally in the Massala takeaway in October, 2011.

Porto Rico’s In Peterhead was raided in November, 2011, and two Pakistani men were found to be working illegally.

In January of this year officers called at the Spice Cottage premises and discovered four Bangladeshi men with no right work in the UK.

All four businesses were issued with potential fine notices and were give the opportunity to prove that correct right-to-work checks had been carried out before the workers were hired.

They failed to do so and the fines have been imposed on each business.

Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the UK Border Agency said: “Our officers are carrying out operations throughout Aberdeenshire to target unscrupulous employers who hire illegal workers, are undercutting wages and potentially exploiting vulnerable workers.

“The UK Border Agency is happy to work with businesses and advise what checks need to be carried out on staff, but those who do break the law should know that they will face heavy fines like these businesses.

Mr Whiteman added: “Tip-offs from the public can be a vital part of our operations, and our new national allegations database which was recently introduced will help ensure we make the most of every piece of information we’re given.

“Anyone with information on suspected immigrations offenders should contact us or call Crimestoppers.”

Anyone who has information on suspected immigration offenders can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/contact/report-crime/ or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The UK Border Agency provides support to employers so they can understand the rules around employing migrant workers.

This includes visits by staff, a dedicated telephone helpline (0300 123 4699) or guidance published on the following website -

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working