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Restaurant owner cleared of unlawful activity charges

UKBA satisfied with the checks carried out  by the employer

5th August 2010: Owner of a restaurant, who unknowingly had employed an illegal immigrant, has been given a clean chit by the UK Border Agency.

Ho received an official letter from the UK Border Agency informing him, that they were satisfied, he had done all checks, the businessman could do before employing the immigrant.

Simon Ho, owner of the China Palace restaurant, was shocked when his property was searched in June. He was left facing a £10,000 fine for employing a unsuccessful asylum seeker.

Ho, was holidaying in the Lake District when the swoop occurred. He always maintained he had carried out all essential checks – and now he had been vindicated. Ho lamented that it was a very upsetting time for him.

He added that his son was only 15 and was picked on from school. He was a relieved man after the Border Agency confirmed that he did nothing wrong. It was proved that infact he did everything he could to be sure the employee was here lawfully.

Ho added that fortunately, whatever happened did not affect his business. He claimed, many people had even reposed faith in him by saying that they knew he had done nothing wrong.

The businessman, who has had a base in Brigg for many years, took photocopies of his former employee’s passport, most recent P60 and employment card, never expecting he was being swindled.

He said that the employers were supposed to ask for the documents and keep photocopies of them in a safe place and that’s what he did. He had no reason to doubt they were genuine; the passport looked as real as ever.

He also warned other entrepreneurs to be careful as it was easy to be taken in. He said that he wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody else.

He termed the entire incident as embarrassing seeing his stories in the papers and on the news. The organization confirmed would face no fine and had proved he had taken the right steps to make sure the failed asylum seeker had the right to live and work in the UK.

Steve Lamb, operations director for the UK Border Agency North East, Yorkshire and the Humber region, said that they had withdrawn the penalty in this case. They said the employer had been able to demonstrate that sufficient checks were made before recruiting the member of staff.

The officer added that the UK Border Agency was happy to work with any employer to ensure they comply with immigration law and make the necessary checks when recruiting staff.

The process to remove the failed asylum seeker employed by Ho from the UK is currently under way.

 

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