UK immigration raids warehouse in crackdown on student visa abuse

We remind you that penalties for illegal working remain severe. A UK Border Agency spokesman told The Daily Telegraph on 22nd August 2012 that UK immigration authorities have removed 2,000 illegal workers from the UK since May. The spokesman told the paper that UK Border Agency staff raided a Tesco warehouse at Farm Lane, Croydon, south London at 3a.m. on Saturday 21st July 2012. UKBA staff arrested 22 people on suspicion of breaching the terms of their UK visas.

The spokesman said that UK immigration staff had been acting on information received and in full cooperation with Tesco. The UKBA needed to catch the suspects working in order to gain the required proof. Consequently, they arranged to visit the warehouse at 3a.m.'in order to catch them in the act'.

He added that Tesco would now need to show that it had proper procedures in place to carry out the legally required checks to avoid a fine. He said it had been issued with a 'notice of potential liability'. If Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket chain with annual profits of £3.9bn is issued with a subsequent 'notification of liability' it may have to pay a fine of £10,000 per employee found to have been wrongfully employed.

It is believed that all those arrested were foreign nationals from various different countries and were aged over 18. They had come to the UK having acquired Tier 4 student visas. Some Tier 4 students are allowed to work on a part-time basis for up to twenty hours a week during term time and full time during holidays but it is believed that those arrested were working between 50 and 70 hours per week during the school term time. Many of the students are said to have come from Bangladesh and India. Seven have already been deported from the UK, The Daily Telegraph reports. 15 more remain under investigation. They too face removal from the UK.

Tesco says that it has been cooperating fully with the UK immigration authorities. It said it had tightened its procedures and did not condone the use of illegal staff. Tesco issued a statement reading 'We take our responsibilities as an employer very seriously and do not condone illegal working'

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