Three Illegal Workers Arrested in Maidstone.

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Three illegal workers have been detained in a raid by the UK Border Agency. A team of immigration officers targeted the Hand Car Wash located at the BP Garage, Sutton Road, Maidstone on the basis of intelligence gathered by our officers. After questioning staff and checking identity documents, officers detained three men who had counterfeit Greek and Italian nationality documents. The three were arrested and subsequently admitted to being Albanian nationals. A search of their home address in Wallis Avenue, Maidstone revealed an Albanian passport belonging to one of the men and he is in custody awaiting removal. The other two men have been charged with fraud offences relating to their counterfeit identities and are remanded in custody. We will take steps to remove them from the UK once criminal proceedings have been concluded. The three workers were all employed by a franchisee and once investigations are concluded a decision whether to serve a Notice of Potential Liability (civil penalty) on the franchise holder will be made. Civil penalties for businesses who fail to carry out the right-to-work checks when employing migrant workers from outside Europe were introduced by the Government in February 2008, allowing fines of up to £10,000 per illegal employee. Those arrested were employed by a franchisee working on behalf of Hand Car Wash and not by BP. Carla Johnson who heads up the local immigration team in Kent said: ‘These arrests show our commitment to targeting those who work illegally. It is a crime that not only undercuts local business but also has a serious impact on local communities, taking jobs from those who are genuinely allowed to work. ‘We will act on any information received and if appropriate visit the place concerned and make arrests. No matter what line of business you are in, you are not safe. We will not tolerate illegal working in Kent.’

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