Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers have arrested two immigration offenders following an operation at a business in Templepatrick.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited Bambou Chinese restaurant at Twelfth Milestone at 5.30pm on Thursday and questioned staff to establish whether they had the right to live and work in the UK.
Officers arrested two Chinese men found working illegally in the restaurant - a 35-year-old who had overstayed his student visa and a 36-year-old who was in the country illegally.
They have been transferred to immigration detention pending their removal from the UK.
The business will be served a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker arrested will be imposed unless the employer can demonstrate that appropriate right to work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document.
If proof is not provided this is a potential total of £40,000
The arrests came after the new Immigration Bill, setting out the Government’s plans to crack down further on illegal migration, had its first reading in Parliament.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said: “The message is clear — if you are here illegally, you shouldn’t be entitled to receive the everyday benefits and services available to hard-working UK families and people who have come to this country legitimately to contribute.
“Whether it is working, renting a flat, having a bank account or driving a car, the new Immigration Bill will help us to take tougher action than ever before on those who flout the law.
“This Bill will build on the Government’s work since 2010 to crack down on abuse and build an immigration system that truly benefits Britain — by deterring illegal migrants from coming and making it harder for those already here to live and work in the UK.”
The provisions in the new Immigration Bill to toughen action against those with no right to be in the UK have three main themes:
• new measures cracking down on the exploitation of low-skilled workers, increasing the punishments for employing illegal migrants, and strengthening sanctions for working illegally;
• building on the Immigration Act 2014 to ensure that only people living lawfully in the UK can have access to UK bank accounts, driving licences and rental accommodation; and
• increasing powers to make it easier to remove people who have no right to be in the UK.
The Immigration Act of 2014 made it harder for people to live in the UK illegally by restricting access to public services and benefits. Nearly 36,000 immigration offenders were removed from the UK last year.
It also introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge to ensure that migrants contribute towards the cost of our National Health Service. Since April it has collected more than £100 million to contribute to the NHS.
The new Bill builds on this work to reduce the ‘pull’ factors that draw illegal migrants to Britain and the availability of public services which help them to remain here unlawfully.
It includes a range of new powers to:
• tackle illegal employment, including a new offence of illegal working;
• stop providing support to migrants who do not return home once all claims to asylum have failed;
• strengthen our border security;
• ensure all public employees in customer-facing roles speak good English;
• electronically tag those on immigration bail;
• create a new role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement; and
• impose a new skills levy on businesses bringing migrant labour into the country so we can reduce our reliance on imported labour, and boost the skills of young people in the UK.
Information to help employers prevent illegal working can be found a www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties
It includes a new quick answer right-to-work tool to help employers check if someone can work in the UK.
Anyone with information about suspected immigration abuse can contact https://www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.