A Chinese takeaway and restaurant on Wearside faces a fine of up to £20,000 after an illegal immigrant was found to be working there.
Home Office officials swooped on the takeaway last month at Dragon Inn, in Newbottle, and discovered a 47-year-old woman from Hong Kong on the premises.
Businesses in the North East who employ illegal workers are defrauding the taxpayer, undercutting employers who ply an honest trade and cheating legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.Phillippa Russell, head of the North East and Cumbria Home Office Immigration Enforcement team
The woman was arrested and has since been granted temporary release, while her case is progressed through the judicial system.
She will have to report regularly to the Home Office during this time.
Dragon Inn was served a notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 will be imposed for employing the illegal worker, unless evidence is provided that the correct pre-employment checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or a Home Office document. The takeaway and restaurant used to be The Jolly Potter pub before it closed down a number of years ago.
Phillippa Russell, head of the North East and Cumbria Home Office Immigration Enforcement team, said: “Businesses in the North East who employ illegal workers are defrauding the taxpayer, undercutting employers who ply an honest trade and cheating legitimate job seekers out of employment opportunities.
“We are happy to work with those who want to play by the rules, but employers who break the law will face the consequences.
“People with detailed and specific information about suspected immigration abuse should contact us.”
The site was visited by officers shortly before 7pm on Wednesday, May 13, acting on intelligence.
Dragon Inn was closed over the weekend, with a sign on its front window informing customers as such.
The North East and Cumbria Home Office Immigration Enforcement team added that information to help employers carry out checks to prevent illegal working can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/employers-illegal-working-penalties.
The website includes a right-to-work tool to help employers check if someone has the right to work in the UK.