UPDATE: Lowestoft restaurant cleared following immigration raid

A Lowestoft restaurant is working with the UK Border Agency following an immigration raid.

A 35-year-old Pakistani man was detained when immigration officers visited the Raj Mahal in London Road South, on Thursday last week. Officials from the UK Border Agency have been working with the restaurant owner Mohammed Arif to ensure the kitchen worker, whose visa lapsed after he had been employed, leaves the UK voluntarily.

Mr Arif said: 'I did all the necessary checks with this passport, visa and insurance. The checks were all made before I employed him.'

The man, who has not been named, worked in the kitchen on the Raj Mahal for 10 hours a week. It is understood he was also studying English language at Lowestoft College.

Gideon Baker, of Suffolk and North East Essex's local immigration team, said: 'The owner of the Raj Mahal has co-operated fully with the UK Border Agency. With his help the illegal worker will be leaving the UK voluntarily on February 14, saving the taxpayer the cost of enforced removal.

'We are satisfied that the owner carried out all appropriate checks and he will not be liable to a fine.

'Our preferred course of action is always to work with businesses to help them stay within the rules. It is only those employers who ignore the immigration laws who run the risk of financial penalties.'

Most Read

The Border Agency has recently carried out a major enforcement campaign to crack down on immigration crime across Suffolk.

Immigration minister Damian Green said local teams will detain, prosecute and remove people or gangs who abuse the system through sham marriages, illegal working, people smuggling and document fraud.

'We are making more use of new technology both at the border and inland to enable officers to focus their efforts on people trying to cheat the system,' said Mr Green.

'Our proposals to tackle abuse by foreign nationals using student visas to gain work in the UK, alongside new plans to toughen up marriage and family routes will, together with the changes already put in place this year, ensure that we bring net migration down to the tens of thousands.'

Businesses unsure of the steps they need to take to avoid employing illegal workers can visit: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/employers or phone the helpline on 0300 123 4699 for advice.

Anyone who suspects that illegal workers are being employed can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 anonymously or visit: www.crimestoppers-uk.org.