A ST IVES restaurant is facing the prospect of a substantial fine after it was caught employing illegal workers by the UK Border Agency.

Officers carried out an intelligence-led visit at The Welcome Chinese Restaurant in East Street on the evening of Thur

A ST IVES restaurant is facing the prospect of a substantial fine after it was caught employing illegal workers by the UK Border Agency.

Officers carried out an intelligence-led visit at The Welcome Chinese Restaurant in East Street on the evening of Thursday, January 21.

Immigration checks revealed that three members of staff, two Malaysian men, aged 45 and 22, and an 18-year-old Chinese woman, had no permission to be in the UK. All three had overstayed their visas.

The two Malaysians were removed from the UK on Saturday (January 23). The Chinese woman remains in detention while arrangements are made for her removal.

Unless it can prove that correct pre-employment checks were carried out, the restaurant potentially faces a fine of £30,000, £10,000 per illegal worker.

Chief immigration officer Chris Evans, from the Local Immigration Team for Cambridgeshire and Northants (East), said: "We won't tolerate illegal working in our communities, and we're working hard to clamp down on this issue to reduce the attractiveness of the UK to illegal immigrants.

"Anyone who takes on a foreign national without permission to work in the UK is breaking the law, undermining law abiding businesses and faces a big fine. There are strict rules about which foreign nationals can get a job in the UK and businesses have a clear responsibility to carry out the right checks."

The arrests are part of a Cambridgeshire wide clamp down on illegal working.

Last year alone, the UK Border Agency issued fines worth approximately £380,000 to more than 30 businesses in the county.

A tough civil penalty system was introduced in 2008 to provide a fast and effective way of tackling bosses who fail to carry out proper checks on workers from outside Europe. A fine of up to £10,000 per worker can be imposed for every illegal worker found at a business.

INFORMATION: Guidance for employers on preventing illegal working can be found on the UK Border Agency website, www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employingmigrants or by calling the UK Border Agency Employers Helpline on 0845 010 6677.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed in Cambridgeshire should contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where anonymity can be assured.