Illegal workers found during raids on West Yorkshire businesses


Two West Yorkshire businesses are facing financial penalties after illegal workers were caught during Home Office Immigration Enforcement raids.

Officers visited Chickanos, Union Street, Huddersfield, and Zahra, Thorpe Lane, Leeds, on Wednesday evening (12 March).

At both businesses, immigration checks were carried out on staff members. A 23-year-old man from Pakistan, found working at Chickanos, was arrested for working in breach of his visa. He is now detained pending removal from the country.

At Zahra, a 31-year-old man from Pakistan was found working in breach of his visa. He was told to leave the premise and will have to report regularly to Home Office immigration while an outstanding application is considered. He also faces removal from the country if the application is refused.

Chickanos and Zahra were both served with a civil penalty notice for employing the illegal workers. This means the employer will be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker unless proof is provided that the correct right to work checks were carried out. This is a total potential fine of £10,000 for both Chickanos and Zahra.

Assistant Director Anita Bailey, from the Home Office Yorkshire & Humber Immigration Enforcement Team, said:

“The message to employers in West Yorkshire who use illegal labour is clear. We will catch you and you could face a heavy penalty.

“Illegal working is not a victimless crime. It defrauds the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and cheats legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.

“We are happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be made on staff, but those who break the law should know that they will face heavy fines.

“I would urge anyone with specific and detailed information about suspected illegal working to get in touch.”

The Home Office 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 or they can call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business or someone is living in the UK illegally can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.