Eight face deportation after Home Office immigration raids in East End

Eleven men working the wholesale food and catering trade in London’s East End have been arrested in raids by immigration officers.

All but three are being held at an immigration detention centre facing deportation.

Now the two firms under railway arches in Shadwell where the men were employed are facing possible £50,000 fines each for allegedly giving jobs to illegal workers, the Home Office warns.

It follows the operation by Home Office immigration enforcement squads following a tip-off.

The squads raided Best Food Cash & Carry and nearby Kacha Bazar both in Chapman Street, off Cannon Street Road, at 10am last Wednesday. Staff were questioned to check if they had the right to be in the UK.

Five were arrested at Best Food. A 21-year-old Pakistani and two Bangladeshis, aged 24 and 34, were working in breach of their visa conditions, officers found. Two more Bangladeshis, aged 24 and 38, had overstayed their visas.

Officers arrested five Bangladeshis aged between 24 and 39 at nearby Kacha Bazar greengrocery store, who were said to have overstayed their visas.

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A 30-year-old Bangladeshi was later arrested when officers searched an address in Vallence Road, Whitechapel, who was found to have overstayed his visa.

“We carry out visits like this in east London almost every day,” said John Bernthal from the Home Office East London Immigration enforcement team. “More visits are planned in the future.

“Those companies breaking the law should know they face financial penalties.

“Illegal working has a serious impact on communities, undermining legitimate businesses and taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work.”

Eight of the 11 arrested are in custody at an immigration detention centre awaiting deportation.

The three who had overstayed their visas were given immigration bail while their cases are being investigated. They also face being deported if found to have no leave to remain.

The two firms the men worked for have been served notices warning that civil penalties will be imposed for up to £10,000 for each illegal worker found—unless proof is provided that the correct right-to-work checks were carried out.

The Home Office has set up an Employers’ Helpline on 030-0123 4699 with advice on what checks to be made when taking on staff.