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Restaurant fined 15K for illegal staff

AN Indian restaurant in Swindon has been fined �15,000 for employing three illegal workers.

The Mela Contemporary Indian Cuisine in Victoria Road, Old Town, has become the first business in Wiltshire to receive a civil penalty under new rules targeting employers who hire immigration offenders.

Officers from the UK Border Agency visited the premises in June last year after receiving intelligence that immigration offenders were employed there.

Three Bangladeshi men, aged 23, 30 and 36, who were working as waiters and chefs, were found to be employed illegally.

Immigration officers issued a Notice of Potential Liability, warning the employers they may receive a fine unless proof was provided that the necessary document checks were carried out before giving the men jobs.

No evidence was provided and employer has now been given a �15,000 civil penalty fine.

�This fine shows how seriously we are taking the problem of illegal working,� said Jane Farleigh, the regional director of the UK Border Agency in Wales and the South West.

�The use of illegal workers presents a serious risk to legitimate competition and is unfair on honest employers who pay their staff a proper salary.

�The UK Border Agency works with employers so they understand the rules, but they have a responsibility to carry out the right checks before they employ migrant workers.

�If they don�t, they could end up potentially having to pay the kind of substantial fines this Swindon business is now facing.�

Mela Contemporary Indian Cuisine has also been named on the UK Border Agency website.

The Agency publishes the details of employers who have been found liable for a civil penalty for employing illegal migrant workers or who have been convicted of a criminal offence every month.

The civil penalty system was introduced by the Government last year and provides a means of tackling employers who make inadequate checks on their workers from outside Europe.

The system is designed to encourage employers to comply with their legal obligations, without criminalising those who are less than thorough in their recruitment and employment practices.

A penalty of up to �10,000 can be handed out for each illegal worker found at a business.

l The Mela restaurant was not available to comment

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Tags: Illegal Chefs , Illegal Restaurant Staff , Restaurant Fined

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