Fines still unpaid for illegal migrant staff

A border agency raid at the Samanta takeaway in Castle Road two years ago. Like many border raid agency fines, it's still not been paid.
A border agency raid at the Samanta takeaway in Castle Road two years ago. Like many border raid agency fines, it's still not been paid.

Scarborough takeaways and restaurants which were hit with huge fines for employing illegal foreign workers still haven’t paid up – years after they were raided.

A Scarborough News investigation has found that seven establishments still have outstanding fines, some as much as £26,250, for employing illegal migrant workers.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, who has called for tougher action against firms who don't pay up

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill, who has called for tougher action against firms who don't pay up

The longest unpaid bill is the now closed Spice Lobster, in Castle Road, which still hasn’t paid the cash after a raid in March 2009.

Management at Indian Rose Brasserie still have to fork out £36,250 after they were raided twice in just under a year.

In total, £122,500 is still owed by the restaurants and takeaways, and Scarborough’s MP has a dim view of their reluctance to face up to their crimes.

He said the fines are clearly no deterrent – and that it was time to take action.

“If you don’t pay your council tax, then bailiffs will be used, so why are bailiffs not being used to collect this money?

“Three or four years is just too long.”

The Scarborough News contacted several restaurants named by the Home Office as having not paid up, although in most cases, management was not present for comment.

We did speak to management at Indian Rose Brasserie, who claim that since the restaurant’s latest raid in September 2012, new management has taken over.

Documentation shown to us states that the new management company, Nur Sosa Grill Limited, took over the running of the Castle Road restaurant just weeks after the restaurant’s previous owners were fined £26,250 for a raid on August 2 last year.

When asked if they had any plans to pay the money, staff said they “don’t know anything about it”.

In total, the fines come from 10 different raids since 2009, which include:

l Spice Lobster fined £5,000 in March 2009

l Scarborough Tandoori fined £10,000 in June 2009

l Eastern Paradise fined a combined total of £25,000 for a pair of raids in July 2012 and March 2013

l Samanta fined £5,000 in July 2011

l The Band fined £10,000 in July 2011

l The Mela fined £31,250 for a pair of raids in December 2011 and June 2012

Since 2009, 16 fines have been issued, although six are no longer outstanding.

Mr Goodwill feels the fines flags up another issue in that companies are using foreign workers, in these cases illegally, when there is a plethora of homegrown talent available.

“I think sometimes there is an expectation that restaurants must have staff from that area, but I recently visited a Chinese restaurant where the staff were English, and it was fine.

“There’s no reason why they can’t have English waiters or chefs – we have cooking schools in this country that produce fantastic chefs.”

And he added: “The next time that I’m in one of these restaurants, I’m going to ask the management why they haven’t paid up, and I would encourage other people to do the same.”

The current measures in place to tackle illegal working means that firms can be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said the Government is “committed to tackling illegal working” and recently concluded public consultation proposing tougher sanctions against employers who exploit illegal migrant labour.

The figures are correct up to June 30 this year.