A man is to be deported after a raid on a Sunderland convenience store.
Immigration Enforcement officers caught the illegal worker during an operation at the Best One store in Fordland Place, Millfield, on Wednesday.
Staff were questioned to check they had the right to live and work in the UK and a 29-year-old Pakistani man was found to have overstayed his visa. He was escorted from the premises and steps will now be taken to remove him from the UK.
His employer was served with a notice warning a fine of up to £20,000 will be imposed for employing the illegal worker, unless evidence is provided that appropriate right to work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work.
Assistant Director Phillippa Russell, from the North East & Cumbria Immigration Enforcement team, said: "The message to businesses in Sunderland using illegal labour is clear. Our enforcement officers will catch you and if the correct checks have not been carried out, you will pay the penalty.
"Illegal working cheats the taxpayer, undercuts honest employers and often exploits some of society’s most vulnerable people.
"We rely on information from the public and I would urge people to report suspected immigration abuse to us.”
New measures included in the Immigration Bill currently progressing through Parliament will make it easier to prosecute employers using illegal labour, increase the maximum prison sentence for doing so to five years and also close down businesses which continue to flout the rules.
Those who work illegally will themselves be committing a criminal offence and face the prospect of having their earnings seized, and we will also continue to seek to remove from the UK anyone who does not have the right to be here.
For more information on right to work checks visit: https://www.gov.uk/check-job-applicant-right-to-work
Employers with questions about checking a job applicant’s right to work in the UK can call the dedicated support line for advice on 0300 123 4699 or use the Employers’ Checking Service for checks on migrants with outstanding immigration applications and appeals at www.gov.uk/employee-immigration-employment-status
Anyone with concerns about illegal working or non-compliant employers should contact the Home Office on-line at www.gov.uk/report-immigration-crime