Nine businesses including some in Chichester are facing fines for employing illegal workers after 19 people were arrested following a series of UK Border Agency raids.
Acting on intelligence, officers visited businesses across the county in Eastbourne, Crawley, Horsham, Worthing, Hove, East Grinstead and Chichester, between Thursday, April 19 and Saturday, April 21 as part of an ongoing commitment to tackle illegal working.
At each address they carried out checks on staff to ensure they had the right to work in the UK.
Across the three days, a total of 19 people were arrested from visits to eleven businesses, 18 of whom were found working illegally. The 19th arrest was of a 42-year-old Bangladeshi male found at an address in Teville Road, Worthing, but not working there.
Of the eleven businesses where arrests were made, nine have been served with notices warning they could be fined up to £10,000 for each illegal worker found, unless they can prove to the UK Border Agency that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.
Of the 19 arrests, 16 have been detained pending their removal from the UK. The remaining three were granted immigration bail.
Timothy Reichardt, head of the UK Border Agency’s Sussex Local Immigration Team, said: “These raids show that we will not tolerate illegal working in Sussex.
“Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.
“Raids like these are part of an ongoing crackdown on illegal working. Whilst we are happy to work with businesses to ensure the right pre-employment checks are carried out those operating outside the law should be warned that they will be found and punished.”
Every year, the UK Border Agency imposes civil penalties on thousands of companies which fail to carry out proper right-to-work checks on staff. Employers unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/business-sponsors/preventing-illegal-working/ or they can call the UK Border Agency’s Employers Helpline on 0300 123 4699.
Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed at a business can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org.