Hundreds of Midland firms caught employing illegal immigrants
UK Border Agency crackdown results in fines totalling £3million
Hundreds of rogue Midland firms have been fined a whopping £3 million for employing illegal immigrants over the last three years.
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has penalised 328 companies for flouting the law and using cheap foreign labour from countries including India, Nigeria and Afghanistan.
The majority of the companies snared for hiring illegal immigrants were fast food restaurants or hand car washes.
But some of the UK’s best known firms – including Domino’s Pizza and franchised petrol stations selling BP fuel – were also caught out during UKBA checks.
The figures, uncovered by the Sunday Mercury using the Freedom of Information Act, show 328 firms in the East and West Midlands were fined a total of £2,958,750 between 2010 and 2012.
The sanctions – which are civil penalties meaning employers do not get a criminal record – were brought in five years ago to help the authorities battle the black market of labour.
Birmingham Hall Green Labour MP Roger Godsiff, whose constituency includes some of the firms fined, praised the efforts of the UKBA and hit out at unscrupulous employers for using illegal workers.
“I welcome the fact the Border Agency are clamping down on rogue employers who are employing people who are not eligible to work,” he said.
“These employers who are doing this are exploiting desperate people and vulnerable people.
“These people should not be in the country and they should be returned to their country of origin.
“However, while they are here, fighting extradition with their solicitors using every legal means to keep them here, they are very vulnerable to being exploited by these employers.
“They are not paying £6.19 as the minimum wage, they will be paying it in cash and be denying revenue to the Exchequer.
“They are also denying jobs to people who have legal entitlement to be in this country and have not got jobs at this time.
“I am often critical of the UKBA in other aspects, but in this instance more power to their elbow.”
The largest single fine in the West Midlands was for the China City Takeaway in Worcester, which was ordered to pay £43,750.
Bosses declined to comment when contacted by the Sunday Mercury.
Euro Car Parts (ECP), based in Tamworth, was fined a total of £35,000 following UKBA raids on its site in September 2011.
A recruitment firm – Winner Logistics – which supplied staff to ECP was also fined £15,000.
UKBA staff arrested ten suspected illegal immigrants from India, Nigeria and Afghanistan during the swoop.
Fines of £5,000 and £25,000 were listed against the company at its depot.
A separate fine of £5,000 was made against ECP, but at a residential address in Tamworth.
The Sunday Mercury made repeated calls to ECP asking for comment, but none were returned.
The largest fine in the East Midlands was issued to House of Creation in Leicester.
In February 2011, a UKBA raid found 16 staff employed at the firm did not have permission to work in the UK.
The company was fined £80,000 for this – but failed to pay.
It entered liquidation in May 2011 with debts of more than £240,000, including the fine, which remains unpaid.
In December the bust firm’s former director – Ilyas Abdulsattar Umerji Nagi – was banned from being a company director after an Insolvency Service investigation.
It found inadequate checks at the company had resulted in the hiring of illegal workers, at least ten of whom the company paid less than the national minimum wage.
The investigation also found that over £1 million had been withdrawn in cash from the company’s bank account in the final two years of trading but there was no record of where the money had gone.