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COME CLEAN: Croxley business fined £15,000 after employee’s visa expires

 Published on: 7th March 2024   |   By: Annabel Stock   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Croxley business has been fined £15,000 by Immigration Enforcement for employing a man whose visa had expired.

Two weeks after owner Abbas Vanat returned to Shamma Eco Dry Cleaners following three months in hospital, he was surprised to find his business subject to an unannounced immigration inspection.

Abbas told CROXLEYnews: “I knew that [the employee’s] visa was due to run out, but I was in hospital for three months and I didn’t check – it was an honest mistake.

“It wasn’t even a cash-in-hand situation; I was paying him the London Living Wage through the bank. We were paying our employee the honest way and now we’ve been punished.”

Officers arrived at Shamma on July 18 and asked to look at employees’ papers. Due to Abbas’ compliance with the authorities, one of the officers suggested that the shop would not be fined the full £20,000 expected of an immigration offence.

Abbas added: “This business is my life. If [the Home Office] revoke our licence, it would be tantamount to punishing us twice.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Illegal working cheats honest workers out of employment, puts vulnerable people at risk, and defrauds the public purse.

“Illegal working visits are up by more than 68 per cent on last year and arrests have more than doubled. We are also removing those with no right to be in the UK.”

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