Restaurant owner given more time to fight £10,000 fine
A restaurant owner who was fined £10,000 has been granted more time to appeal against the penalty.
Shah Alom, owner of Bengal Fusion on Market Square, Crewkerne, had his business raided by the Border Agency on January 5.
Officers arrested two members of staff, who were from Bangladesh.
According to the agency, immigration checks revealed that the men, aged 47 and 48, had stayed in the UK illegally after their visas had expired.
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Mr Alom maintains the men were musicians and not employed by Bengal Fusion.
He wrote a letter to appeal the decision but it was received two days too late.
However, after receiving a letter from MP David Laws, the Border Agency has now said because the deadline to object fell on a weekend, Mr Alom’s letter was not received until the following week and he was the victim of an administrative error.
The agency has now issued a new penalty notice and Mr Alom has a further 28 days to appeal.
Mr Alom said: “I am still planning to appeal.
“I have spoken to my solicitor and we are getting the evidence together again to send this week. I sent through to the Border Agency everything possible to prove the men were not employed by us last time.
“Normally, if anyone comes to work here we check them, but the men were coming in for a performance.
“You can find videos on YouTube of these men performing all over the country and I recorded performances off the television and sent it as proof.
“It is totally unfair I have been fined, I think it’s an injustice.”
Kenny Chapman, who heads the UK Border Agency’s local immigration team in the South West, commented: “Employers are responsible for carrying out document checks and we work with businesses to let them know what they need to do.
“Illegal working has damaging social and economic consequences for the United Kingdom.
“It undercuts businesses that operate within the law, undermines British workers and exploits migrant workers.
“The message is clear for employers – we will not tolerate illegal working and we will take firm action against those who ignore the rules.
“We carry out operations like these frequently and we continue to have success targeting employers who use illegal workers.
“Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and denying job opportunities to those who are genuinely allowed to work.
“We’re happy to work with businesses to let them know what checks need to be done on staff, but those who do break the law should know that we are out there looking for them and they will face heavy fines.”
The UK Border Agency is a law enforcement agency responsible for controlling migration in the UK.