Illegal Sidmouth workers ‘removed’ from UK

Restaurant boss faces fine of up to �60k

A SIDMOUTH restaurant owner faces a fine of up to �60,000 after illegal employees found working at a pair of his Chinese eateries were thrown out of the UK.

Border Agency chiefs this week revealed four people arrested in raids at Jade Wok and Yummy Express last year had since been “removed” from the country.

Boss Gary Kwong has been told to prove proper checks were made before the workers were taken on – or face a financial penalty.

“In uncertain economic times it’s too early to say what effect the fines will have on the continued viability of the business,” said Mr Kwong. “I hope to continue to provide Sidmouth with a good quality Chinese restaurant for years to come.”

UK Border Agency officials swooped on Jade Wok, in High Street, and Yummy Express, in Temple Street, on September 16 and made a total of six arrests.

A spokesman for the authority said checks revealed all three members of staff on duty at Yummy Express, now shut, had no legal right to be in the UK.

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A Chinese man was a failed asylum seeker, a Malaysian woman had entered the UK illegally, and a Malaysian man had stayed illegally after his visa expired.

The Chinese man and Malaysian woman were removed to their home countries. The Malaysian man is reporting to a police station while work continues to remove him from the UK.

A trio of Malaysian men found working at Jade Wok had entered the UK illegally.

Two were removed while the third remains in detention and is due to be returned to Malaysia within weeks.

The Border Agency is considering whether Mr Kwong will face civil penalties of up to �10,000 for each illegal member of staff.

To avoid a fine, he must provide evidence that the correct right-to-work checks were made before workers were taken on.

Mr Kwong said, at the time of the Border Agency visit to Jade Wok, his staff were “mostly new and still on a probationary period”.

He employed a personal assistant to help with administration after Jade Wok opened – and said forms to aid employee status checks were prepared just two days before the raid.

“Unfortunately, events overtook us before the relevant paperwork was completed,” added Mr Kwong.

“We now have a system in place to ensure that all staff passports are checked, copied and placed on file.”