UK Immigration Authorities Arrest 12 Indian Nationals in Visa Breach

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UK Immigration Authorities Arrest 12 Indian Nationals in Visa Breach

| Updated: April 11, 2024 15:53

The UK’s immigration authorities have arrested 11 men and one woman, all reportedly Indian nationals, on suspicion of breaching their visa conditions and working illegally at a bedding and cake factory.

According to a statement released by the UK Home Office on Wednesday, Immigration Enforcement officers targeted a bedding and mattress business in the West Midlands region of England, following intelligence reports of illegal work taking place on-site. Seven men, all Indian nationals, were arrested on suspicion of illegal working.

In a nearby cake factory, four more Indian men were arrested. They were found to be in violation of their visa conditions, with one also working illegally. An Indian woman was subsequently arrested for immigration offences at a private residence, with further raids planned throughout the afternoon.

Four of the offenders are currently detained pending consideration for removal from the UK or deportation to India, while the remaining eight have been released on bail on the condition they report regularly to the Home Office.

The two businesses implicated in the operation could face substantial fines if it is established they employed illegal workers and failed to conduct relevant pre-employment checks.

UK Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, Michael Tomlinson, stated, “This operation is a clear example of the way we are stepping up immigration enforcement activity across the country. Employers found to be breaching the rules can expect significantly increased fines and if workers are found to have no right to live or work here, we will not hesitate to act and remove them from the country.”

Earlier this year, the Home Office tripled fines for employers who allow illegal migrants to work for them. For a first breach, fines have increased from GBP 15,000 to GBP 45,000 per illegal worker and for repeat breaches within three years, the fines have risen from GBP 20,000 to GBP 60,000.

Eddy Montgomery, Director of Enforcement, Compliance and Crime at the Home Office, said, “Illegal working causes serious harm to communities, puts vulnerable people at risk and defrauds the public purse. The arrests send a clear message that we are clamping down on this dangerous practice.”

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has prioritised cracking down on illegal migration, with stricter visa norms being enforced across different categories in recent months. From this week, an incremental increase to the minimum income required for overseas applicants, including Indians, to bring their dependents on Family Visas will come into force – rising to GBP 29,000 from GBP 18,600.

By early next year, this threshold is set to match the Skilled Worker visa requirement of GBP 38,700, which the Home Office said would ensure family dependents brought to the UK are supported financially.

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