Illegal workers are arrested in Ballymena swoop

Six immigration offenders have been arrested following operations by Home Office immigration enforcement officers in Ballymena.

Acting on intelligence, officers visited Jade House Chinese takeaway on Henry Street, Ballymena, Co Antrim at 8.15pm on Thursday.

There they arrested two Chinese men aged 40 and 41 who were working illegally.

In an earlier visit on Wednesday (5 February) four Chinese men aged 23 to 53 were arrested for immigration offences at a residential address on Queen Street, Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

All the men have been detained while steps are taken to remove them from the country.The Jade House was served notice warning that a civil penalty of up to £10,000 per illegal worker found will be imposed unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

Mike Golden, from the Northern Ireland Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: “The message to employers in Northern Ireland who choose to use illegal labour is clear. We will catch you and you will 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 immigration crime to contact us. Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can call the Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.”

Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.