Restaurant could face £40,000 fine over illegal workers

Planet Spice in Ormesby has been threatened with a £40,000 fine for employing illegal immigrants.

Planet Spice in Ormesby has been threatened with a £40,000 fine for employing illegal immigrants. - Credit: Archant

An Indian restaurant has been threatened with a £40,000 fine after two illegal workers were detained on Thursday night.

Kalu Mih, owner of Planet Spice in Ormesby, said he was shocked to see immigration officers turn up at his restaurant.

A spokesman for the Home Office said officers visited the eatery at 7pm on Thursday night after concerns were raised.

The spokesman said: "Immigration checks identified two Bangladeshi men who had no permission to work.

"The men, aged 23 and 42, had both overstayed their visas and have been detained pending their removal from the UK."

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The restaurant in Filby Lane has been served a civil penalty referral notice warning that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 per illegal worker will be imposed.

That's unless Planet Spice can demonstrate the appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office document confirming permission to work.

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Mr Mih claims only one of the men worked at the restaurant and he was being visited by his friend.

He confirmed the member of staff detained was a waiter.

"He had only recently joined so it was a big shock," Mr Mih said.

"Most of the staff we have are local but it can be really difficult to get the people we need.

"We will be looking into this case to find out what has happened."

Planet Spice opened in Ormesby nine years ago and employs nine members of staff.

Residents in the village have described their shock at the news.

One neighbour said: "We often go to the restaurant. It is well thought of and many villagers have built up a rapport with the people who work there.

"It is shocking to think there is anything untoward about their unemployment.

"Planet Spice is a real asset to Ormesby and we always see someone who we know from the village when we go there."

On its website the restaurant says it offers an "unrivalled selection of authentic and imaginative Indian dishes".

Mr Mih confirmed the restaurant would be open as usual this weekend.

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