An Exeter city centre Chinese restaurant, incredibly popular with hungry students and described as a ‘gem’ by foodies, has been raided by immigration enforcement officers and police.
Beijing Beijing in Queen Street was at the centre of the daytime swoop yesterday, and a married couple have been detained.
According to manager Liu Zhong, they were kitchen workers who had begun working earlier that day.
Acting on intelligence gathered, checks found that the two members of staff, aged 45 and 46, had no permission to work in the UK having overstayed their visit visas.
They have been detained and are set to be sent back to China.
Mr Zhong could be in for a hefty fine unless he proves that the appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out.
The business was served a referral notice in relation to the two illegal workers.
This notice warns that a financial penalty of up to £20k per illegal worker found will be imposed unless it can demonstrate that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out.
These checks include seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work.
A spokesperson for Devon & Cornwall Police, who assisted enforcement officers, explained their involvement: “Officers were present as part of multi-agency activity coordinated by the National Crime Agency.”
Despite yesterday’s incident, the restaurant is open for business as usual.
Beijing Beijing opened this year and has already been described as a ‘gem’ by food fans.