Indian restaurant loses licence for employing illegal workers

Author: James Aldridge

An Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant in Sandhurst has lost its alcohol licence for employing illegal workers.

The Sandhurst Tandoori in High Street, Sandhurst, Berkshire has racked up £45,000 in unpaid fines for hiring workers who had no legal right to work in the UK.

In three immigration raids held in 2013 and 2017, two illegal workers were found at the restaurant on each occasion.

During the immigration operation in November 2013, officers found an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, and another Asian man who denied he worked at the restaurant, even though the manager confirmed he worked there.

Both were detained by immigration officials.

At a raid in September 2017, one ’employee’ worked at the restaurant for food and bedding, while another worker had no documents to prove he could work in the UK.

At a final immigration meeting in November 2017, one man was found to have no ID and was working for free in return for food and board. The second man questioned in that visit was an illegal overstayer.

The licence for the restaurant was revoked at a meeting of Bracknell Forest Council’s licensing committee on Monday, April 23.

It was highlighted at the hearing that the practice of employing persons with no right to work in the UK is commonly associated with other crimes such as tax evasion, employees being paid below the minimum wage, workers being exploited and living in poor conditions, and also encourages illegal migration and the taking of risks to enter the country illegally.

The criminal breaches of the premises licence were also flagged by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP), which delivers the licensing service across Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham borough councils.

It regularly carries out joint visits with Home Office Immigration Enforcement to licensed premises to provide advice and to check for compliance with licence conditions and legislation.

The PPP is managed by the Public Protection Joint Management Board, which warned licensed premises across the area to review right to work documents of all staff.

Steve Loudoun, chairman of the Public Protection Joint Management Board, said: “Following the recent revocation of the premises licence we are advising all licensed premises across Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham borough councils to review the right to work documents of all of their staff to ensure that they are entitled to work in the UK.”