Sunday, 19 September 2021

Men held in immigration raid at restaurant

A MAN was arrested by immigration enforcement officers following a raid on a Wargrave restaurant.

The 39-year-old Bangladeshi tried to flee from Haweli in High Street but was held on suspicion of overstaying his visa.

He is currently being held in detention pending his removal from the country.

It is the second raid to be carried out at Haweli in the last five months.

Three immigration enforcement vans arrived at the restaurant on Wednesday evening last week.

As officers entered, the man ran from the rear of the property but was chased and arrested.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the raid was carried out as a result of intelligence received.

She said: “As officers arrived, a man fled from the rear of the restaurant. He was apprehended and identified as a 39-year-old Bangladeshi man who had overstayed his visit visa.”

The business has been served with a referral notice, which means that a penalty of up to £20,000 can be issued for each illegal worker found unless the employers can demonstrate that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out. These include records of passports or Home Office documents confirming permission to work.

Restaurant manager Shez Begum said the man had been living at a flat above the restaurant and was not an employee.

He said: “We own the downstairs restaurant and one of the flats but the rest is let separately. It used to be a hotel and we use one of the flats for our staff accommodation and changing rooms.

“We gave the details of all the employees working to the Home Office. Due to a previous visit, we have to keep records.”

In November, four Bangladeshi men were held at Haweli on suspicion of working illegally.

The restaurant was temporarily closed as a result of the operation and issued with a compliance order, which requires the business to check its employees’ right to work in the UK, allow immigration officers to inspect the premises and inform immigration enforcement in writing before opening any other business.

At the time of this raid, restaurant manager Raj Miah said the business had co-operated with the Home Office and provided paperwork proving the men’s right to work in the country.

Haweli operated from another property in High Street before moving to its current premises across the road last year.

Raids on the restaurant’s sister business in Twyford in 2014 and 2017 found nine illegal workers and the company was subsequently fined £90,000.

Earlier this year, the Wargrave restaurant applied to Wokingham Borough Council to renew its licence.

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